Accidents can happen at any time, but it is often your reactions to these incidents that can determine how severe the outcome is in the end. This is very true for anyone who ever loses a tooth, either by a blow to the face or chewing on something hard enough to cause the tooth to be broken off.

Although losing a tooth can be a traumatic experience and could knock your confidence a bit, it doesn’t have to be as bad as you might originally think. The quicker you react and take the appropriate steps; the more chance you have of saving the tooth and minimising the damage caused.

  • Hard foods or minor blows to the face can often cause a tooth to become chipped, which isn’t as bad as losing it but is still a reason to seek medical advice. The best thing to do is to make a non-emergency appointment at your dentist so that the tooth can be filed down and any other damage inspected.

If You Have The Tooth…

  • Act quickly and make an emergency appointment at your regular dentist.
  • Handle any tooth that falls out carefully and only by the white bit at the top. It is important to not damage the root at all as this could affect the chances of it being successfully reattached to the gum line.
  • If needed, clean the tooth in milk or salt water to remove any dirt. Never rinse your tooth in normal water, alcohol or any other liquid solution, as this could again cause more damage.
  • Replace the tooth in the gap it has fallen out from and cover with a piece of material such as a napkin or handkerchief. You should then bite down on this until you can get to the dentist.
  • If it is not possible to reinstate the tooth then you should place it in a clean container and cover it with milk or your own saliva.
  • On arrival at the dentist, the tooth will be checked to ensure it has been replaced correctly (or replaced if you couldn’t do it yourself) and then splinted to the teeth surrounding it in order to help it reattach.

If You Don’t Have The Tooth…

  • If you can’t find the tooth that has been dislodged or it is impossible to recover then it is still important to react quickly to address the pain that you are probably in.
  • Your dentist will be able to talk you through all the options available to you. You may feel like you’re happy to live with a gap in your teeth, but this can have detrimental effects over time. You may start to lose confidence within social situations as you become less keen to smile in public and there could also be complications with the surrounding teeth.
  • Your options will include; a dental implant, a bridge or a partial denture. Depending on your individual situation and preferences, you will be able to discuss what the best option would be for you personally.

If The Tooth Is Broken…

  • If the tooth has not fallen out cleanly and has instead broken off at the root, things can be a bit trickier.
  • In this instance you should not attempt to replace the tooth and should instead store it in a clean container filled with milk or your own saliva.

On arrival at your dentist you will be able to discuss possible treatments. These will include a crown if the tooth has broken off near the surface, or more extensive root canal treatment if the nerves and blood vessels in the middle of the tooth have been damaged.

By Chris Mayhew

Chris Mayhew knows how important it is to take good care of your teeth and safeguard them for the future. He would recommend Smile Care, in Plymouth, to anyone looking for a trusted and reliable cosmetic dentist.

Image source: Shutterstock royalty free

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