What to Do If You Knock out a Tooth
Unfortunately, dental injuries are common, and dentists frequently see people who have knocked out a tooth and who didn’t know what to do at the time. If you are unlucky enough to knock out a tooth, knowing how to react could just save your tooth, but you need to act quickly. There is only a tiny window of opportunity where it is possible to successfully re-implant a tooth, usually within the first half an hour to an hour after the accident.
Carefully pick up the tooth by its crown which is the part of the tooth you usually see in the mouth. Rinse off any visible dirt, but don’t scrub the tooth root and make sure you leave any tissue on the tooth root intact. Next, try to gently reinsert the tooth, ensuring it faces the correct way around! Use a clean finger to hold the tooth in place until you can get to see a Dentist in fairfax, or you can bite down gently on a clean tissue.
If you don’t feel able to reinsert the tooth, find a small container to store the tooth in a little milk or saliva. You shouldn’t use water because this could dehydrate the tooth. Another way to store the tooth is in your cheek, just be sure not to swallow it. This situation is a dental emergency so make sure you see a dentist right away. There is no guarantee the reimplantation will be successful or even possible, but it is definitely worth a try! If reimplantation fails for any reason, you will need to consider ways of replacing the tooth, especially as it is most likely right in the front of your mouth where most dental injuries occur.
Methods of Replacing Knocked out Teeth
There are several ways you can replace a knocked-out tooth, and your family dentist can discuss each option with you. One way is to use a simple dental flipper which is a one-tooth denture. It is a quick and inexpensive solution, but it is far from ideal. Your dentist may suggest you use a dental flipper as a temporary measure, perhaps while you consider your options or wait for further treatment. Another possibility is to have an ordinary dental bridge.
A dental bridge literally bridges the gap left behind by your missing tooth, filling it with an artificial tooth that is supported by crowns on the adjacent teeth. Your dentist would need to prepare these adjacent teeth by grinding them down quite substantially which is necessary to make sure the dental crowns don’t look or feel too bulky and big. The dental crowns will hold the replacement tooth in place, and it will rest on the gum. A dental bridge is probably an option worth considering if the teeth either side of the missing tooth are damaged or decayed in any way, or if they already have dental crowns that need replacing.
Otherwise, it’s important to realize that your dentist will be removing substantial portions of a healthy tooth. Once this tooth structure is removed, it will never grow back and must always be restored artificially, meaning these teeth will always need to be crowned in the future. It’s an important consideration because the third option for replacing a missing tooth doesn’t involve harming healthy teeth in any way. In fact, it will help to protect these teeth!
If the teeth adjacent to the gap are healthy and strong and nicely shaped, it’s quite likely that your dentist will strongly suggest you consider a dental implant. Dental implants offer several advantages, not least protecting and preserving your healthy teeth. With a dental implant, the teeth adjacent to the gap do not need to be reshaped in any way so they will remain fully intact.
A dental implant is self-supporting, and it will help prevent your existing teeth from shifting position and moving towards the empty space, and it will ensure you can bite into food comfortably. Most importantly, a dental implant protects your jawbone.
When you lose a natural tooth, the entire tooth is removed including its root. A tooth root has two crucial functions as firstly it helps to anchor the tooth firmly in place, and secondly, it provides stimulation to the bone around it, ensuring it remains strong and supportive. After a tooth is removed, the bone that used to surround your tooth root gradually remodels because, without the stimulation provided by the root, old bone cells are no longer renewed, so the bone begins to resorb.
Bone resorption can destabilize the teeth adjacent to the gap, and if you opt for a dental bridge, you could eventually end up with an unsightly gap underneath the replacement tooth. None of this will occur if you have a dental implant!
Instead of just resting on the gums, a dental implant emerges from your gums, so it looks just like your own tooth. The implant consists of a small medical grade titanium alloy post surgically inserted into the jawbone. It is a very small surgical procedure, and most people find a local anesthetic is enough, but otherwise ask your dental implant dentist about sedation dentistry. Once the post is surgically inserted into the jawbone, it gradually bonds with the surrounding bone. Over a few months, the post becomes firmly anchored in the jawbone and is strong enough to support a brand-new implant crown.
While the dental implant post heals and bonds with your jawbone, it’s most likely that your dental implant dentist will supply you with a temporary tooth. Sometimes the tooth may be fitted onto the implant, but it will not contact your opposing teeth. It’s essential that the implant post isn’t stressed in any way during the healing period as any movement could interfere with this process. It does mean that your temporary tooth may be a bit shorter than a normal tooth, but it should provide you with a reasonably good appearance.
Once healing is complete, it is replaced with a permanent implant crown, restoring or even improving your appearance, so your smile looks just the same or even better than before.
If your dental injury was due to a sports accident, make sure you ask your dentist about having a sports mouthguard that will protect your new tooth and your existing teeth against further injuries.