Whether struck in the mouth by a flying baseball or mistakenly biting too hard into a piece of food, every year hundreds of Americans find themselves staring down incredulously at their own tooth. What should you do when you lose a tooth in an accident -- and how can you save it? Read on to learn more about the tooth-preserving steps you should take before you're able to visit an emergency dentist.
Even if your tooth has been completely knocked out, it is possible to successfully reattach it within the socket as long as you seek dental treatment immediately. Although your tooth might later require a root canal and crown, you won't need to worry about getting a dental implant or bridge -- you can keep your own tooth structure. Calmly proceed through the next few steps as quickly as possible.
Call the nearest emergency dentist
These dentists are available outside normal office hours, and are able to perform immediate treatments to help preserve your tooth. By calling the emergency dentist's office and telling the receptionist you lost a tooth and are headed to the dentist as quickly as possible, you can ensure that they will make arrangements to have you treated as soon as you arrive at their offices.
Rinse with water and reattach your tooth
A common old wives tale is that you should place the missing tooth in a glass of milk until you can have it reattached by a dentist. Although the proteins in milk do help stave off cell death, the best thing you can do is rinse the end of the tooth with plain water and reattach it in the socket. This will ensure that the living cells at the base of the tooth are connecting to the cells in your socket, allowing blood flow to reach the tooth and prevent the tooth from dying.
Follow up with your dentist
Once you arrive at the dentist's office, he or she should be able to sterilize your tooth and reattach it securely within the socket. You'll likely have to return to your regular dentist within the next couple of weeks so that he or she can check the progress of your tooth's healing and ensure that you won't need follow-up care such as a root canal or crown. You'll be able to eat and chew normally on your tooth after you get the go-ahead from your dentist. (For more information, contact Hernandez Dental)