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Lost Tooth

Q: If I have just lost a tooth, how important is it to seek immediate treatment from a dentist?

A: The short answer to that question is that it is very important. As with a broken or chipped tooth, losing a whole tooth can happen unexpectedly, most commonly through an accident or an unexpected injury. If this happens, don’t panic, but do get in touch with one of our Emergency Dental Centers  dentists immediately to find out what steps you should take next.

Why is immediate contact with a dentist so important? Because it may be possible for a dentist to reattach the tooth you have just lost, as long as it can be done anywhere between 30 minutes to a full hour after your tooth has been knocked out. After that, it may be more difficult to successfully complete a reattachment procedure.

If you have just lost an adult tooth, these are the steps you should take immediately to ensure that reattachment is possible. First, you will need to rinse away any dirt or debris that may have collected on the tooth. Do this carefully, though. Do not touch the tooth anywhere but on the crown. You should also avoid scrubbing the tooth, as you could accidentally scrub away any important tissue that may still be attached to the root. Instead, just rinse it lightly to get it clean. Then, if you can, place the tooth back in its socket and hold it there using gauze or a clean cloth. If it is not possible to put the tooth back in its socket, the next best thing to do is put the tooth in a bag of milk or even salt water. By doing this, you can preserve the tooth while you, a friend, or a family member drives you to the dental office that will be helping you.

As we have already said, reattachment may be possible if treatment can occur within an hour. If reattachment is not possible, though, it is still possible for us to replace your missing tooth with a restorative dentistry option like a crown-and-bridge or with a dental implant. With both, we can improve your smile’s strength and function. An option like dental implants will even promote bone growth in your jaw, ensuring that your bite remains naturally strong. But the ultimate goal of any dentist is attachment of your own tooth, with restorative options like these reserved for cases where reattachment isn’t possible at all.

Have you just lost a tooth because of a sudden accident or painful injury? If so, it is important that you act quickly to save it. Follow the steps above and call your regular dentist or one of our emergency dental centers to find out about treatment. If treatment can occur within 30 minutes to an hour after the tooth is lost, it may be possible to have it reattached. If reattachment isn’t possible, however, a restorative dentistry option may be able to restore your smile’s strength, functional, and overall health.

©2013  Emergency Dental Center