Playing sports or other high-impact activities always carries the risk of potentially getting hurt and losing a tooth. In the event that you experience a trauma that causes you to lose a tooth, these are the steps you need to take before you make your way to a dentist.
Don’t Panic but Act Fast
If you lose a tooth, it can be difficult to not panic. There is a likely chance that your tooth can be saved if you follow the right procedures. There is a window of time for you to save your tooth, so be sure to act quickly.
Handle with Care
When picking up your tooth, be sure to only hold it by the crown (the white portion with ridges that sits outside the gum). The root (the portion of the tooth that would normally sit inside the gums) is very delicate. There are very small fibers that are vital to the survival of the tooth and cannot be damaged.
If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with cold water. Do not scrub the tooth for any reason. In doing so, you may damage important fibers that are vital to successfully re-implant your tooth. The root must stay intact.
Storing the Tooth
If possible, try to place the tooth back in its socket. If you are able to secure your tooth in its place, gently bite down on a clean cloth to hold it steady while you make your way to the nearest dentist.
Do not force the tooth to go back in place. In doing so, you could possibly damage the root of the tooth or your gums. If you cannot easily put your tooth back in place, there are a few alternative options.
You can place the tooth in between your cheek and gums. Your saliva will help keep the tooth alive. If you cannot put the tooth in your mouth, you can spit into a cup and place the tooth in your saliva.
In the event that you cannot put the tooth in your mouth or use your saliva, you can carefully place your tooth in a cup of cold milk. You should not put your tooth in tap water or on ice.
Seek Medical Attention
Once you have secured and stored your tooth for safe travel, you should immediately seek medical attention from your nearest emergency dentist. Time is vital when trying to save your tooth.
There is a good chance that the tooth will survive if you follow the proper procedure if you are still within the 60-minute time window. After about 60 minutes, the chances of saving the tooth will decrease significantly.
This process is not for baby teeth. Do not try to put baby teeth back in the socket. It could cause damage to the permanent teeth residing in the gums. Unfortunately, if your tooth comes free of your gums due to tooth decay or gum disease, this process will not work.
Prevention is Key
The best practice is to protect your teeth when playing sports or participating in high-impact activities. Wearing a mouthguard will help protect your teeth while playing sports or other high-impact activities.