Teeth get knocked out more often than you might imagine. Athletes, especially, are at risk, but auto accidents, falls, and other unexpected events can result in trauma to your mouth, including knocked out teeth.

At Le Dentistry and Associates, Dr. Phuong Le and Dr. Uyen Hoang reserve time in their schedules to help patients who are in the midst of a dental emergency. A knocked out tooth is certainly an emergency, and if handled correctly, you can keep your tooth.

Here’s what you should do

Step one is find your tooth, or the pieces of it. When you do, be careful not to touch the roots of the tooth. Gently rinse the tooth with regular tap water, but don’t scrub it.

If you can, place your tooth in its socket in your mouth. If you can’t manage that, try to hold it between your cheek and your gum. By holding it in your mouth, your tooth remains warm and moist.

However, sometimes it’s not possible to put your tooth in your mouth. If that’s the case, place it in a small container of milk. Or, if you have an over-the-counter tooth preserver such as Save-A-Tooth on hand, use it. Experts suggest using milk because it has the right pH level as well as proteins and carbohydrates to keep the cells in your tooth’s roots alive.

Although you should rinse your tooth, you shouldn’t store it in tap water. Tap water contains chemicals that can cause damage to your tooth if it’s exposed to them for very long.

Time is important

If you knock out a tooth, getting dental care within 30 minutes offers you a 90% chance of saving your tooth. Call us as soon as possible so that our staff can be ready for you.

As long as your tooth is moist and properly preserved in milk or something like Save-A-Tooth, the chances are good that we can save it and safely reinsert it into its socket. Our dentists use a specialized stabilizing splint to hold your tooth in place.

You may need to wear the splint for a few weeks in order to give your tooth and jawbone time to heal. Once enough recovery time has passed, we have you come in for a follow-up appointment so we can X-ray your mouth and make sure your tooth is healing properly.

Depending on how well you’re healing — or not — your dentist may recommend a root canal to remove any damaged tissue in the pulp of your tooth, so that it doesn’t become infected.

What if you can’t save my tooth?

Sometimes circumstances don’t allow for saving your tooth. Maybe you can’t find it, or it’s too shattered to pick up or put back together. In those instances, there are still ways to preserve your oral health and your gorgeous smile. For example, a dental implant may be a good option.

Remember, first find your tooth. Then rinse it and place it in your mouth or in milk or a preservation product. Call us, and get to our office for an emergency appointment!

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