Whether you lost a fist fight, tripped over or were in a sports accident – there’s nothing quite so bad as having a tooth knocked out. It’s painful, it makes you look like a 6 year old and it requires immediate dental attention. If you regularly play contact sports or take part in other physical activities such as skiing or bike riding, you should be aware of what steps to take if you knock out a tooth. It could be the difference between saving your original tooth and a costly replacement.
1) Take immediate steps to locate and protect the knocked out tooth.
The first thing you should do if your tooth is knocked out is to find it and protect it. In many cases a knocked out tooth can be reattached, but you’ve got to take steps to ensure it will still be a viable option by the time you get to the dentist.
The best thing to do if the tooth is still clean is to put it right back into your mouth and gently put it in the socket. The cells at the gum-end of the tooth will die if they dry out – and once they’re dead there is no chance in getting the tooth reattached. Damaging the root is the main thing to avoid, so it is best when you handle the tooth to simply hold it at the opposite end so your fingers don’t go anywhere near the root.
If the tooth is dirty then don’t put in back in your mouth because you’ll risk infection. Most importantly do not attempt to clean it yourself, especially if the dirt is in the root of the tooth. The simplest thing to do is just to pop the tooth into milk. Unlike water, the milk will keep the tooth safe without damaging it.
2) Get a dentist appointment as soon as humanly possible
The more time that goes by, the less of a chance there is that the tooth will be successfully reattached. Although the procedure varies from dentist to dentist and country to country, generally a knocked-out tooth will class as emergency dental work and will probably get you to the front of the queue. However don’t bet on it. If dental work is not free where you live, then you’re going to want to find the money for your treatment fast. Dig into your savings, borrow from a family member or consider a payday loan to tide you over until your next paycheck. Dental work is expensive, but getting a replacement tooth will be more expensive – so hurry on up.
3) Assess your options for replacing the tooth
If your tooth is lost or too damaged to put back in, then ask your dentists for your options vis-à-vis a fake tooth. A denture, bridge or implant are all viable options, but it is best to discuss what is best to fill your gap with a dentist who can assess what the best move will be.
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