If you haven’t noticed already, dentists tend to be technology nuts. We’re always looking for the next and best way to provide patients with better versions of dental solutions such as crowns, dentures and dental implants. Read more
We recommend that you visit us at least twice a year for a teeth cleaning appointment, which also includes a basic exam. You’ll hear dental professionals refer to this kind of appointment as prophylaxis (prophy for short), which is a word that comes from a Greek term that means “guard”. The services we perform during your teeth cleaning & checkup are intended to guard against the spread & development of disease, particularly tooth decay & gum disease.
Think of your preventive dental care in terms of this metaphor: you’re at home & a bad rain storm is coming. What would you rather respond to, a weather report telling you that there is a flood warning, or three feet of water in your living room? Wouldn’t you want the early warning so you have time to place sandbags to keep the water out?
As a dental patient, which would you rather have, a dental hygienist gently removing plaque & tartar from your teeth, or the dentist telling you that your tooth is too far gone to be saved & has to be removed?
We say this not to scare you & not as a threat, but because we want you to think of preventive dentistry as an early warning system for your mouth. We’d rather let you know about the risks to your health & help you take preventive measures than be on the phone with the insurance company telling them about the damage.
A few dozens sandbags are a lot cheaper than replacing your belongings & repairing damage to your house. Preventive dentistry, like teeth cleanings, is much cheaper than restorative repair to fix decay, such as fillings, crowns, & bridges or gum disease treatments. If you have dental insurance, most of your annual preventive dental care is covered & won’t cost you any extra money. That’s like if your homeowner’s insurance offered you a load of sandbags for free twice a year, just in case there was a flood. If you knew there was a risk of flooding, why would your refuse the offer?
So if you want to avoid costly restorative dentistry or gum disease treatments in the future, be sure to come see us every six months for your preventive care & cleaning appointment. An hour of your time twice a year is well worth trying to repair the damage after a catastrophe!
Of course, on of the first things you should do if your tooth gets knocked out is make an emergency dentist appointment. However, depending on where and when your accident happened, it may be hours before you’ll actually be in the dentist’s chair. There is a good chance that the dentist will be able to put it back in place regardless, but only if you follow a few vital steps between the accident and your arrival at the dentist’s office.
Your primary goal after your tooth has come out is to keep the tooth alive, which means making sure the tooth root remains moist and as undamaged as possible. The tooth root is the tissues that provide blood flow and nutrients to the tooth. If these tissues dry out they can die, which makes it much harder for for the dentist to put it back in its socket successfully.
First, you should try to immediately fit the tooth back in its socket. If you manage to get the tooth back in place, you can bite down on gauze or a wet tea bag to keep in there until you get to your emergency dentist appointment. If you can’t get the tooth back in its socket, you’ll need to use other means to keep it safe.
If the knocked out tooth as dirt or debris on it, rinse it off using tap water or bottled water. Always hold the tooth by the crown (opposite end as the root) and don’t touch the root, as this may damage it. Do not brush the tooth or try to sterilize or clean it with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. These things will do more harm than good.
Next, to keep the tooth moist you need to put it either cow’s milk, or if milk isn’t available, put it in saliva. You can also keep the tooth in your mouth, either under your tongue or between your gums and your cheek. But be careful not to swallow it! Don’t put the tooth in water to keep it moist. Water is not as gentle as milk or saliva and can cause damage to the cells in the tooth root. Once you get to your emergency dentist appointment, the dentist will take care of sterilizing the tooth in a way that doesn’t risk damaging it.
The dentist will assess the damage to your tooth and your mouth and determine the best way to proceed. Usually this involves cleaning the area and the tooth and gently inserting it back into its socket. Sometimes the dentist will apply a splint to keep the tooth in position as it heals back into place. This splint resembles braces and will usually be in place for 1-2 weeks.
The biggest thing to remember when a tooth gets knocked out is that it can be put back if you follow the right steps! Be sure to call your dentist for an emergency dentist appointment right away and your smile should be back to normal in no time.
Please note: If you injuries could be life threatening, contact emergency medical services right away and worry about the dentist later!
Bonus fact: The clinical term for a knocked out tooth is an avulsed tooth.