When a Tooth is Knocked Out

I was at the playground and saw a boy who was hit in the mouth and lost a tooth as a result. His mother just tossed it because it was a baby tooth, but it got me to wondering. What would I do if it was an adult tooth?

Melissa

Dear Melissa,

a hockey player with a knocked out tooth

Whenever a tooth is knocked out, it’s a dental emergency whether it’s a baby tooth or an adult tooth. Even though the baby tooth doesn’t need to be saved the dentist needs to check the pulp of their tooth to make sure no damage was done which will affect the adult tooth underneath.

With an adult tooth, it’s even more serious. You have about 30 minutes to try and save the tooth. Call your dentist right away and let them know what happened. They’ll be available and ready as soon as you get there.

If you don’t have a dentist, you can do an internet search for an emergency dentist. These are general dentists who will see non-established patients in cases like yours. Again, let them know you’re trying to save a tooth so they’ll be prepared. Time is of the essence.

You’ll only want to handle the tooth by the crown (the part which is visible when you smile). Try never to touch the root. Additionally, you’ll want to keep it moist. If you can, put it in a glass of milk. If that’s not available, you can just place it between your gums and your cheek.

If Your Tooth Can’t be Saved

There are times when a tooth can be saved. In that case, you’ll have options for your replacement. Ideally, you’d want a dental implant. That’s almost like having a natural tooth. However, if it’s a teenager or child you’re talking about an implant isn’t possible. Their jaw has to be finished growing.

After a dental implant, the next best option is a dental bridge. This suspends a false tooth between two crowns. There are other options as well if neither of those work for you such as a removable partial denture or a dental flipper. A flipper is only meant to be temporary though, while you are waiting for a better replacement.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.