What Do I Do if I Lose a Tooth?

October 3, 2017

Hand with a knocked out toothIt can happen in the blink of an eye. One minute you’re perfectly safe having a great day, and the next you feel a tooth fly out of your mouth. Usually, that feeling is preceded by an impact or bite into something hard, but still, losing a permanent tooth typically comes as a shock. Keep reading to learn more about how to respond if you lose a tooth or experience other dental emergencies.

Step 1 – Take a Breath

We know an accident or injury that leads to a knocked out tooth can be really stressful or frightening, but it’s important you stay calm. Take a few breaths, and give your dentist a call. A good dentist will have a team member available to help walk patients through first aid and pain management over the phone. This will help you stay calm and get the emergency dental help you need.

Step 2 – Retrieve the Tooth

Once you’ve calmed down a bit, look for your tooth. When you find it, handle it by the crown (top of the tooth) rather than the roots. Look over the tooth to see if it’s broken or damaged. You want to make sure there is not a piece of tooth missing or still in the socket.

Step 3 – Clean the Area & Knocked Out Tooth

Holding the tooth by the crown, you can run cool water over it to remove any dirt or debris, but do not brush or rub the tooth as any remaining soft tissue is essential to the reattachment process. Then, rinse out your mouth with cool water. If the vacated socket is bleeding heavily, you can bite down on clean gauze or cloth to stop the flow of blood. An ice pack applied at 20 minute intervals (20 on /20 off) will also help to slow the bleeding.

Step 4 – Replace the Tooth in its Socket

If the entire tooth is knocked loose and there are no small pieces of tooth remaining in the socket, you should be able to return the tooth to its original socket. Once in place, bite down on gauze or clean cloth to hold the tooth in position.

Step 5 – Store the Tooth if You’re Unable to Replace It

If for any reason you cannot safely or comfortably return the tooth to its socket, you can store it in a container filled with water or whole milk. This will keep the tooth moist and protect any remaining soft tissue that’s attached to the knocked out tooth. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can also place the tooth between your cheek and gums in order to keep it in a more natural state.

Meet Dr. Javeed

At the Virginia Beach dental office of Astra Javeed, DMD, we’re here to help whenever patients need us most. Whether you lose a tooth on Monday morning or Saturday night, we’ll do our utmost to see you right away. Contact the Smile Care Family Dentistry team anytime you need us for emergency dental care. From toothaches to facial trauma, we’ll do our utmost to relieve pain and get a smile back on your face right away.

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