Successfully handle a broken tooth with these steps
Imagine this: The score is 2-2 with bases loaded. You throw out a pitch and… smack! You get hit with a line-drive right in the mouth. The next thing you know, you’re holding your front tooth in your hand and your bloody mouth with the other.
Or, you’re doing laundry and trip over your son’s toy truck and land face-first into the edge of the laundry basket, breaking off one of your teeth in the process. Great. Just the way you wanted to spend your Saturday.
Unfortunately, events like this are pretty common: More than five million teeth are knocked out every year, according to the American Association of Endodontists. Luckily, most of those teeth can be saved if you take action immediately, so if you’re wondering what to do if you know out a tooth, follow these steps for the best outcomes.
Get to a Dentist… and Fast
Time is of the essence when a permanent tooth falls out, so high-tail it to your dentist — or to an after-hours emergency dentist — within 30 minutes. Dentists can sometimes fix a tooth that’s been out for an hour or more, but the faster you can get there, the better.
More than five million teeth are knocked out every year, according to the American Association of Endodontists. Luckily, most of those teeth can be saved if you take action immediately.
Clean the Tooth the Right Way
Gently clean the broken tooth with milk or water if it’s dirty, but don’t use soap or other chemicals as it can affect the sensitive roots of the teeth. Once clean, grab the tooth by the crown (the part you chew with) and not the root to avoid damaging it.
Attempt to Put the Broken Tooth Back in Your Mouth
This only works if your tooth came out completely with the root intact. Put the tooth in the correct position and slowly push it back into the socket. Keep it in place with your fingers or by biting down until you get to the dentist.
Keep the Tooth Moist at All Times
Sometimes broken teeth won’t fit into the socket — or it hurts to even try. In those cases, keep the tooth in your mouth next to your cheek to keep it wet. Alternatively, you can put the tooth in a glass of milk until you get to the dentist.
Never use regular tap water because exposed roots can’t tolerate it for long periods of time.
How Dentists Fix Broken or Knocked Out Teeth
Your dentist’s approach to fixing your broken tooth depends on the severity of the damage. A tooth with only a small chunk out of it can typically be fixed in the same day with a filling or composite bonding (especially if it’s a front tooth).
A larger break likely means that your dentist will have to grind down part of the tooth and fit it with a crown, a tooth-shaped permanent cap that looks just like your natural teeth. Porcelain veneers — or a thin piece of porcelain made to cover the natural tooth — are an option for front teeth, too.
To replace a full tooth, your dentist will first clean out any dirt and debris and then put it back in the socket. It’ll take the tooth a few days to “reattach” to where it belongs, so your dentist will create a splint (made of either wire or composite material) to keep it in place and secured.
Some knocked out teeth cannot be replaced. In those cases, your dentist will recommend a tooth implant to fill the space. A dental implant is made with a titanium metal post and anchored to your jaw, much like a tooth root. The dentist then mounts the implant with a replacement tooth that looks and acts exactly like a regular tooth.
Don’t Wait to Fix a Broken Tooth
No one plans on breaking their teeth, but getting to the dentist right after an accident can save your tooth — and your wallet — from permanent damage.
Contact us at TruFamily Dental to make an appointment today.
Posted In: Cosmetic Dentistry & Whitening