Our teeth are supposed to last us a lifetime, however this isn’t always the case when something untoward happens, such as a sporting accident, a trip or awkward fall that results in a tooth being knocked out.
Some teeth will need to be replaced eventually due to decay, wear or damage, but the trauma caused by an accident can knock out a tooth so quickly that it may be able to be saved. Accidental damage like this happens a lot with sporting accidents, but also with children when falling off a bicycle or tripping over when running around without much care or attention. When this happens, would you know what to do?
Dealing with children
First of all, if your child suffers from an accident where a tooth gets knocked out, you should try to establish whether the missing tooth is actually a milk tooth (baby tooth) or a secondary adult tooth. Most dentists would tell you to look at where the tooth is missing from. If your child is aged around six or seven years old or older, and the missing tooth was knocked out from the front of their jaw, then most likely it will be a adult tooth.
Looking at the size of the tooth can be a clue too. An adult tooth will be quite large, but a baby tooth will be quite small. If you are confident that the lost tooth is a baby tooth, then you should not try to put it back into place. More than likely the tooth would be pushed out and replaced by a second tooth anyway.
Should you suspect that the missing tooth is an adult tooth, then action should be taken swiftly to try and put it back in place as quick as you can.
Taking care of the missing tooth
This advice applies to both an adult or child’s tooth. Refrain from handling the tooth too much, especially if the tooth still has the root attached to it. Should the tooth be dirty, then you can gently clean it by rinsing it with water.
Re-apply the tooth back into its original place and place a folded handkerchief over the top of your teeth and gently bite down on the handkerchief to keep the tooth in place.
Seek out immediate emergency dental help from your dentist as soon as possible. Explain the details of the accident and injury (or get someone to do this for you if it is you that has suffered the accident). Your dentist should be able to splint the tooth and save it as long as the tooth is still in a good condition and it hasn’t been vacant from the mouth for too long.
Your dentist will be able to assess the damage and advise you about a course of treatment to help repair your missing tooth, or replace the tooth if necessary should it be impossible to save.