Dental emergencies can occur anytime and anywhere. It is, therefore, important to know a few tips on dealing with the emergency before seeking dental assistance. In the case of an avulsed or knocked-out tooth, you need to act as soon as possible, because, in most cases, the tooth can be reimplanted but the longer you wait, the fewer the chances of success. For this reason, here are a few first aid tips for a knocked out tooth.
Find the Tooth
First, you need to locate the tooth immediately. Pick it up carefully and handle it by the crown or the chewing edge to minimise any damages or injuries to the root.
If Dirty, Rinse It
If the tooth is dirty, you need to rinse it with water or milk. When doing this, make sure you hold it by the crown. Also, don't use a shirt, washcloth or any other fabric to wipe it off because this could easily damage it. Besides, don't scrub it, dry it, or use chemicals and soap to wash it.
Try Repositioning the Tooth Back In Its Socket
While still wet, try to reposition your knocked out tooth back into its socket as fast as you can. When reinserting it, make sure it faces the right direction and in most cases, the tooth should easily slip right in. If it repositions successfully, hold it with your finger or bite down on a wet tea bag or gauze to keep it in place. You should be careful not to swallow it, especially if it's a molar or premolar. However, if the teeth won't slide in, don't try to force it because you may injure yourself or damage the tooth.
If the Tooth Won't Slide In, Store It
If you weren't successful repositioning the tooth, you need to store it. The bottom line is that you want to keep the tooth as moist as possible. This is because if the tooth is left to dry, the roots may die and if they do, your tooth won't attach again and you may have to look for alternatives such as implants, dentures, or bridges. Therefore, you need to store it and the best way to do this is to keep it in milk or saline. If you are looking for a long-term storage, don't store the tooth in tap water because the root surface cells may not tolerate the water for such long periods.
If you don't have milk or saline, then you can carry it in your mouth between your gum and the cheek, under your tongue, or between your lower lip and the lower gum.
For further assistance, contact an emergency dentist, such as one from Bath Street Dental Practice.