But ONLY if You Know What to Do. Six Steps… Thirty Minutes
I know it sounds like science fiction, but a tooth that’s been totally knocked out can be put back in and actually survive.1 But ONLY if you ACT FAST (within just 30 minutes) and know exactly what to do.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of the critically important steps they’d need to take if they or a friend had a tooth knocked out. In fact, you probably haven’t even thought about the possibility of losing a tooth in a car accident, a fall or while you’re playing sports. But accidents like that happen every day.
Of course the best way to protect your teeth is to prevent this kind of injury by doing things like wearing your seat belt and using a custom fit mouth guard when you play. But it’s still smart to know the 6 KEY STEPS you need to take to save a tooth and avoid the need for a bridge or implant.
First Things First
Before I give you those steps, though, I do want to remind you to check to make sure the person who’s lost the tooth doesn’t have any other, more serious injuries.
If the person is not conscious and unresponsive, and if you are not trained in Basic Life Support, dial 911 (or the appropriate emergency response number in your area) and follow the instructions of the emergency operator.
Saving a tooth is a good thing but NOTHING is more important than making sure the injured person gets all the medical attention he or she needs as quickly as possible.
The Six Key Steps
If the tooth accident is the main problem, be sure to follow these steps carefully.
1. Find the tooth and pick it up. Be careful to hold it only by the crown (not the root) so you don’t damage the tiny ligaments on the root.
2. Rinse it off quickly in water or milk. Never scrub or use chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol.2
3. If possible, put the tooth back into its socket, being careful to make sure it’s facing in the right direction. You can hold it in place by biting down gently on something soft but firm.
4. If the tooth can’t be replaced in its socket it can be carried between the cheek and gum. It’s important, though, to make absolutely sure that when carrying the tooth it isn’t likely to be swallowed or inhaled and choke the person. If you think there’s ANY chance of that happening DO NOT risk transporting it in this manner.
5. If it is not possible to carry it in his or her mouth safely, put it in a small container and cover it with milk or their saliva. Don’t let it dry out! That can cause damage in just a few minutes.
6. Call your dentist RIGHT AWAY so they can arrange for you to get treatment. The sooner you are seen, the better chance there is for saving the tooth.
That’s it. The SIX absolutely necessary steps to saving a knocked-out tooth – along with my hope you’ll never have to use them.
If you have any questions, just ask. As always, we want you to have all the information you need.
Dr. Carlos Meulener
4 Parker Ave.
Little Silver. NJ