When a tooth has been avulsed (knocked out) or moved from its original position as a result of a contact sport or accident injury, it is important to know what can be done to save the tooth before a dentist or oral surgeon can be seen. If appropriate steps are taken, it is possible that the tooth can be repaired without the need for extraction.
If the Tooth is Knocked Out
If a tooth has been knocked out, there is a possibility that the natural tooth can be saved by following these steps.
- Make sure the tooth is clean. If dirty, pick up the tooth by the crown (not the roots), and rinse the tooth crown and roots with clean water. Do not remove any attached tissues.
- Reposition tooth in socket. The sooner the tooth is placed back in the socket, the greater the chance it will survive. Carefully and gently reinsert by pushing the tooth into the socket with fingers, or position above the socket and close mouth slowly. Hold the tooth in place with fingers or by gently biting down.
- Apply pressure to the tooth for 5 minutes. Applying pressure displaces the blood accumulating in the socket and sets the tooth in its proper position. Continue applying gentle pressure for 5 minutes with gauze or wet tissue on the edge of the tooth to ensure it stays in the socket.
- Seek dental treatment. See your dentist or oral surgeon for an evaluation and long-term treatment plan for saving the tooth. Your dentist or oral surgeon may advise you to get a tetanus shot within a day or two if you have not had one within the last 10 years and the wound was dirty.
If the Tooth is Moved
If following an injury, the (permanent) tooth is still intact, but has been moved from its original position, professional care should be sought for that tooth’s survival.
- Clean the wound. Gently clean any injury to the oral or facial tissues with soap and water, especially outside the mouth if the lips and cheeks have been involved. Rinse thoroughly.
- Control bleeding. Place pressure with clean gauze for at least 10 minutes.
- See a dentist or oral surgeon. Within six hours of the injury occurrence, see a dentist or oral surgeon so that damage can be evaluated and a proper treatment plan can be made.
If you have any questions about oral or facial trauma, do not hesitate to contact Austin Oral Surgery. Our team of oral surgeons is Board Certified and prepared to provide emergency care. Feel free to visit our website or call our office.