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What To Do if You Knock Out a Tooth? [Dental Emergency]
Is it considered a dental emergency if you or your child gets a tooth knocked out? Absolutely. If such an accident does happen, make every effort to get to an available emergency dentist within 60 minutes of the tooth being knocked out. This gives it the best chance for survival.
What to do if a tooth is knocked out
If a tooth gets knocked out for any reason, the patient needs to get to a dentist. It does not have to be the patient's own dentist, but rather any emergency dentist who has an immediate opening. Regardless of how it happened, it is important to take care of the separated tooth and gum socket until reaching the dentist.
When handling the knocked-out tooth, always hold it by the top area with the chewing surface. Never handle it anywhere else or touch the root. Gently rinse the tooth off in warm water and avoid scrubbing it.
Next, try to replace the tooth back in its socket in a gentle manner, but do not force it if it hurts and do not touch the socket area with a finger. If it cannot go back in, keep the tooth moist in a cup of milk, not water. At this point, focus on getting to a dentist immediately.
Why acting fast matters
The tooth’s best chance at survival is if it can be put back into its socket securely and correctly within five minutes. However, unless there is a dentist standing there when the accident happens, this is not likely.
Fortunately, teeth still maintain a solid survival rate as long as they are replaced within an hour, which gives more time for a patient to get to a dentist. If the tooth is unable to get reconnected to its socket for more than an hour, the chances of it surviving the dental emergency decline greatly.
What the dentist will do for the tooth
In most cases, a dentist will clean out the socket then put the tooth back in its place. Depending on the severity, it may be necessary to perform a root canal or splint the tooth to adjacent teeth with wire. From there, it is up to the body to help the root reattach securely to the jaw bone, which can take four to eight weeks.
Preventing teeth from getting knocked out
Accidents happen, and while it is not possible to prevent all of them, people can take efforts to keep themselves and their kids safe, especially if they are going on hikes or playing sports. All athletes should consider wearing a mouthguard, as it is 60 times more likely for someone playing sports to suffer dental injuries when not wearing one, according to the American Dental Association.
Need to find a dentist for a knocked-out tooth?
If your tooth was knocked out, it is a dental emergency. Rinse the tooth, try to put it back in its socket, and contact a dentist immediately for the best chance of saving the tooth.
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