A large traumatic force can cause a tooth to be knocked out of the mouth, such as during sport, a motor vehicle accident or assault. If a tooth has been knocked out, there is a chance to save the tooth if swift action is taken. Follow these tips on how to best manage this stressful situation.
For knocked out adult teeth:
- Pick up the tooth from the white crown portion – do not touch any part of the yellow root.
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse gently with milk or saline. Do not use water (if no milk or saline available, rinse gently with water for no more than 10 seconds).
- Gently place the tooth back into the gum socket. The yellow root should go in first until it is completely covered – only the white crown portion of the tooth should be visible. Make sure the tooth is facing the right way (front is facing forward).
- The tooth should be held in place by biting on something soft like a handkerchief.
- Seek dental treatment IMMEDIATELY. This is especially critical if you cannot place the tooth back for some reason.
- If the tooth cannot be placed back, the tooth can be placed in milk, saline or saliva (spit into a container). Alternatively, the tooth can be transported by holding the tooth in your mouth between your cheek and teeth – however do not allow a child to do this as they may accidentally swallow the tooth. Seek dental treatment IMMEDIATELY – successful treatment is much greater if treatment can be sought within 1 hour of the incident.
- DO NOT:
- Wash or scrub the tooth
- Handle any portion of the tooth root
- Let the tooth dry out
- Delay seeking dental treatment
For knocked out baby teeth
- Do not place the baby tooth back into the gum socket – doing so may cause permanent damage to the developing adult tooth
- Seek dental treatment immediately – bring any tooth fragments with you for inspection
For other dental trauma injuries
Even if no teeth are knocked out completely, other dental injuries can occur due to traumatic forces to the teeth. These can include loose teeth, chipped teeth, knocked in teeth (intrusion) and soft tissue laceration. The key point is to seek dental treatment immediately as this is important to maximise the chance of success and the best outcome for the injured person.
Protecting your teeth
Prevention is better than cure! Even though we have discussed what to do if you have a dental injury above, the best thing to do is to prevent the injury from happening in the first place. If you play contact sports, it is important to protect your teeth by wearing an appropriate mouthguard.
The Australian Dental Association recommends against using over-the-counter and bite-and-boil mouthguards as they may not be properly fitted to absorb impact and may not provide adequate protection against injury. The best form of protection is a custom made mouthguard that is moulded to fit your teeth directly.
If you or someone you know has just experienced dental trauma, contact us at Peninsula Dental Care Rosebud to arrange an urgent emergency appointment!