Engaging in outdoor activities and contact sports is an excellent source of exercise for our overall health. Regarding children, being active is great for their health, growth, and development.
Unfortunately, this also means that we are more likely to experience accidents and get injured. A common injury in contact sports for adults and kids is when a tooth gets knocked out.
The following steps are to help you save your or your child’s tooth so it can be successfully re-attached and can function properly again!
Step 1. Don’t Panic!
This sounds easier than it is. We get it; your freaking tooth just fell out! You read this, and you think, “pssh, I am in pain, how am I suppose to remain calm!” A thousand thoughts go through your head like “Oh no! I am going to look homeless” or “holy crap this is a lot more painful than I thought.” Don’t Panic. Panicking only makes the situation worse. Plus it’s harder to stop bleeding when your heart is racing. So seriously, don’t panic, take some deep breaths, and read on to the next steps.
*Special Note: The tooth has the best chance of surviving if it has been placed back in the mouth within a half-hour to an hour.
2. Find Your Tooth!
This is very important because to replace a tooth we need your tooth! Your tooth needs to be protected from damage if we want the tooth to be replaced into its socket without any difficulty. According to WebMD, “when you retrieve the tooth, hold it by its crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it is dirty.” You don’t hold the tooth by the root because it can break and there are several cells attached to the roots that help to replace the tooth back in its socket. You want to keep the tooth moist at all times by putting it in water, milk, or in your gums.
3. Control the Bleeding
When a tooth gets knocked out, it is usually accompanied with a soft or hard tissue injury inside the oral cavity. Therefore, you should try to control the bleeding as fast as possible. You can do this by placing a cotton gauze at the site of the injury, and you bite down on it. Once you get the bleeding under control its time to move onto the next step.
4. Try to re-insert the Tooth (We Know, It Sounds Scary)
After controlling the bleeding, try to insert the tooth back into its socket. The tooth should go into the socket easily, make sure that you do not apply too much force as it may lead to further aggravation of the wound or the tooth itself. DO NOT insert a tooth that is dirty and has not been cleaned because this will cause additional problems and can lead to infection.
To clean the tooth, follow these steps from aae.org
1. Gently rinse the tooth with water
2. Do not use soap or chemicals
3. Do not scrub the tooth
4. Do not dry the tooth
5. Do not wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth
After cleaning the tooth, if you cannot insert the tooth because of swelling or pain then its time to move onto the next step.
5. Like an NFL Guard, Protect your Tooth
If your attempt to re-insert the tooth has failed, it is best to preserve the tooth and get in touch with your dentist’s office or the closest dentist to your location. According to mouthhealthy.org, you can place the tooth in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product.
*IF you have re-inserted the tooth, you still need to see your dentist
6. The Dentist Office: What to Expect
You still need to visit your dentist to make sure that the tooth is properly inserted. If you could not insert the tooth yourself, the dentist will decide if it’s okay to re-attach the tooth or if other measures are required.
If done properly, knocked-out teeth generally become fully integrated into their sockets in a matter of a few weeks. Your dentist will splint the tooth that fell out with the tooth next to it so that it does not move during the re-attachment process. The chances of a successful re-attachment of a knocked out tooth are very high if you seek expert help within the first 30 minutes after the injury.
What to Do If A Baby Tooth Gets Knocked Out?
Most parents think that Baby teeth are not very important and if one gets knocked out that there is no need to put it back to its position. You could be making a huge mistake! Baby teeth are just as important for your child’s dental and physical health as their permanent ones. This is because the baby teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent ones. If one of them is lost prematurely, the surrounding baby teeth gradually slide into the vacant space. As a result, the permanent teeth are unable to erupt in proper alignment and angulation. This is why it is very important to replace knocked out baby teeth. Your Dentist may choose to not replace the tooth depending on the stage of development in your child’s teeth.
If you or your child are involved in contact sports or extreme sports, they should wear protective gear to protect any vital body organs and their teeth and gums. One of the best ways to protect your child’s teeth during sports is to make them wear a mouthguard. Football, BMX, lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, rock climbing, and hockey are some examples of sports that require a proper mouth guard!
Now that you’re an expert in tooth replacement, let us know what you think in the comments below!