Unfortunately, this is a situation I see a little too often for my liking. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, unfortunately the tooth issue needs to wait as there may be a more serious injury to deal with:
- Loss of consciousness (if you have knocked your head)
- ouble or blurred vision
- Heavy bleeding from mouth
- Other injury eg. head , headache.
If these apply to you, please seek urgent medical attention (visit the emergency department of your local hospital, call an ambulance, call your GP).
If none of the above apply to you, it is very important we act as quickly as we can to give your tooth the best chance of a better prognosis. Unfortunately, knocking a tooth out (avulsion) means the overall prognosis is already not so good.
If you can stomach it, locate the tooth, pick it up by the top (crown) and try not to touch the part that was embedded in the gum (root) as it is covered by important cells and tissues that we don’t want to damage.
If it looks quite clean, PLACE THE TOOTH BACK WHERE YOU THINK IT CAME FROM (back into the socket). If it looks visibly dirty run it briefly under some cold water and then attempt to reposition it.
You then need to call a dentist ASAP so that you can be checked for fractures of the jaw, fractures of other teeth, bumps to other teeth, proper positioning of the lost tooth, stabilisation of the lost tooth and the appropriate medication to help prevent infection. You will also require long term monitoring and follow up and it is quite probable that further treatment is required including root canal treatment and/or eventual replacement of the tooth in question.
If you are uncomfortable with placing the tooth back into the socket you can place it inside your cheek or in a glass of milk. The key is to prevent the tooth from drying out (do not wrap it in a tissue or glad wrap).
As a final note, many avulsed teeth are due to unforeseeable accidents (e.g.. car accidents, assaults or collision with things like poles and swimming pool edges ) but a good percentage of lost teeth I see is from sports injuries! These injuries would have been prevented or at least the severity greatly reduced if a well fitting mouthguard was worn.
So next footy season, make sure you, your partner or your child is fitted with a well fitting dental mouthguard to prevent dental trauma.
I hope this post has been helpful.
Dr Jess BDSc (The University of Melbourne.) (Honours.)
Oak Tree Ballarat Dental