Accidents happen and dental emergencies are no exception. A knocked-out tooth, also known as an avulsed tooth, can cause distress. However, it is important to know that, in some cases, you can save a knocked-out tooth by acting quickly and following the right steps.
Immediate Actions to Take after Your Tooth is Knocked Out
- Handle with Care
- Pick up the tooth by the crown, not the root. Avoid touching the root as it is sensitive and should not be damaged.
- Rinse Gently
- If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with water. Do not scrub it, or use soap, chemicals, or wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
- Reinsert The Tooth
- If possible, gently push the tooth back into its socket using your fingers. Do not shove or force it if it won’t go back into place.
- Keep The Tooth Moist
- If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a container of milk, saline solution, or an emergency tooth preservation kit. The American Association of Endodontists advises against using regular tap water as the root surface cells cannot tolerate it for extended periods.
- Seek Immediate Dental Care
- Contact a dentist or emergency dental clinic immediately. The sooner you can get professional help, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
How a Root Canal Helps Save a Knocked-Out Tooth
When a tooth is knocked out, it damages the blood vessels and nerve tissues inside the tooth, known as the pulp. The tooth may also become contaminated while it is outside the mouth, increasing the risk of infection. Endodontists perform a root canal to remove the infected or damaged pulp tissue, preventing the spread of infection and inflammation. This process, which includes cleaning, reshaping and filling the canals inside the tooth, not only eliminate infection but also help maintain the structural integrity of the tooth.