When you were a kid, losing a tooth was a kind of rite of passage—one more indication that you were finally “growing up” (sometimes sweetened by a token from the tooth fairy). But as an adult, losing a tooth is an entirely different experience. And if that loss is caused by a traumatic incident, like a fall, fight, or sports accident, it can be even more unsettling.
Fortunately, advances in dental techniques and technology allow many people to retain a tooth that’s knocked out due to injury. The key is knowing what steps to take — and taking them quickly.
Marvin Taylor, DDS, and the team at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center in Waterford, Michigan offer state-of-the-art treatment for knocked-out (avulsed) teeth, helping replant teeth when possible to help patients maintain their natural smiles. Here’s what you should do if you experience a tooth avulsion.
1. Don’t touch the root
While the enamel part of your tooth is tough and durable, the roots are not — in fact, they can be damaged very easily. Hold the tooth by the crown (the top part) and do not touch the root at all. Even minor “damage” to the root could mean it can no longer be replanted into the socket. Touching it with your fingers could also infect the root with germs, which can also prevent replantation.
2. Clean it gently
Gently rinse debris from the tooth using water or milk. Don’t use soap, hand sanitizer, or any type of antiseptic (including mouthwash), since these can damage the tooth and prevent replacing it in the socket. Don’t scrub the tooth, either. Just gently rinse it off.
3. Put it back in the socket …
The best place for a tooth is back in its socket. If you’re able, gently place the tooth (root side down) into its socket. Then bite very gently on a piece of clean fabric or gauze to keep the tooth in place while you seek treatment.
4. … Or place it between your cheek and gum …
If you can’t place the tooth back in its socket, slip it between your cheek and gum. Keeping it in your mouth maintains the environment the tooth is used to.
5. … Or put it in a glass of milk — not tap water
If you can’t keep the tooth in your mouth at all, place it in a glass of milk and bring it with you to your emergency visit. Try to avoid using tap water, since it might contain chlorine or other chemicals that might damage the tooth roots.
6. Seek emergency treatment immediately
When a tooth is knocked out, every second counts. During business hours, head straight to our office. Call ahead if you can to allow us to prepare for your arrival. If it’s after hours, or if you’re traveling outside the area, head to your nearest emergency room.
Advanced dental care for your beautiful smile
Losing a tooth can be a traumatic experience, but with prompt treatment, Dr. Taylor can restore your smile — and your confidence. To learn more about advanced oral health treatments as well as steps you can take to keep your teeth healthy and strong, call 248-681-8100 or request an appointment online at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center today.