Julie West BS RDH
I have had several nightmares about my teeth being knocked out. I wake up in a panic to the relief that they are still there. Losing a tooth to injury can be very scary, and those precious minutes following the displacement of the tooth are critical. If you are a parent, a coach, or have any involvement with children, the following tips can equip you to save a smile.
If a child loses a baby tooth after injury, DO NOT attempt to put the tooth back into its socket. Instead, place the tooth into a tooth saver like this one approved by the ADA.
If you do not have a tooth saver handy, a container of milk, water, or saline solution can be used. DO NOT scrub/rinse the tooth clean! Get the child to the dentist as soon as possible. The faster the tooth can be reimplanted by a dentist, the better.
According to Martha Ann Keels, DDS, PhD, division chief of Pediatric Dentistry at Duke University, injuries to children’s teeth are both common and preventable. She states, “The good news is most dental injuries can be avoided. But if an accident does occur, don’t worry –- most times even a tooth that’s been knocked out completely can be saved if proper care is taken in the first 20 minutes,” Keels said.
Time is of the essence.
If an adult or teenager loses an adult tooth after injury, DO put the tooth back into the socket immediately! If the tooth has been soiled, gently rinse it with water being careful not to scrub/rinse off any attachments. Hold the tooth by the crown and gently insert it into the socket. Hold the tooth in the socket with clean cloth/ gauze until the adult can get to the dentist.
If it is not possible to reinsert the tooth (it is broken into several pieces), use a tooth saver container, milk, water, or saline solution to transport the pieces with the patient to the dentist as soon as possible.
There is no guarantee of long-term retention of a replanted tooth. A small percentage of replanted knocked-out teeth will be lost even with optimum treatment.
Bottom line: get the person and the preserved avulsed teeth to the dentist FAST!
Click here to view the tooth saver product pictured above. I would encourage all parents, coaches, and school teachers to have a kit like this on-hand in case of dental trauma. And, of course, all children playing sports should be wearing a mouthguard to help avoid such injuries. See your dentist to have one made for your child.
Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com/