It’s football season. I was at my son’s game. The boys all wear mouthguards, but one boy still seemed to lose a tooth. I was appalled to see him spit it out and move on. Maybe that’s all that can be done, but I thought surely in this day and age there’s a way to save a tooth. Is there?
First, I’ll say I’m surprised he lost a tooth while wearing a mouthguard. They’re generally extraordinarily effective. It’s possible his had suffered some damage and he didn’t replace it. That aside, let’s get to your question.
Yes, it is possible to save a tooth which has been knocked out, but only under certain circumstances. First, you have to get to a dentist within 30 minutes. Call your dentist ahead of time and tell them you need an emergency dental appointment. Let them know what happened. They’ll make room for you and be ready when you get there. This is a time-sensitive fix.
Secondly, the root of the tooth has to be in good condition. When you handle the tooth, make sure you hold it by the crown only. That’s the part that is visible when you smile.
The next thing is to keep it moist. Now, this may sound gross, but your saliva is ideal. It has important bacteria fighting properties. If you’re able, keep the knocked out tooth in your cheek where your saliva can get to it.
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
While a tooth knocked out is easy to recognize as a dental emergency, there are other things which also should send you running to the dentist.
The first is pain. When you have tooth pain, it’s generally a sign you’ve got a tooth infection. This will need a root canal treatment and dental crown. Some people try to ignore the pain thinking it will go away. And the pain will… but the infection won’t. The dulling of the pain means the pulp is dying. Then the infection will continue to spread.
Unless your dentist goes in and physically removes the infected pulp from the tissue it will continue to spread. This is not something to take likely.
What if a Tooth Can’t Be Saved?
One area where we’ve had tremendous advancements in dentistry is with tooth replacement options. It used to be you had to get a removable partial denture. Now, however, you can get a permanent replacement such as a dental implant So, if for some reason you lose a tooth which can’t be saved. These are very close to having a healthy natural tooth.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.