What To Do If You Chip, Loosen or Lose a Tooth
Westchester has been experiencing a brutal winter, bringing with it icy sidewalks and driveways and the possibility of slipping and falling. It is important to know what you should do if you chip, fracture, loosen or knock out a tooth before it happens. While minor cases don’t need immediate medical care, some teeth may only be saved by knowing what steps to take and how long you have to get medical help.
What Should I Do If I Chip My Tooth?
A minor chip or fracture doesn’t require an emergency call or appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon. The primary reasons you should get your chipped tooth fixed, if the damage is minor, is to protect the soft tissues in your mouth from jagged edges and to keep your smile perfect. This may mean bonding the fracture back with the rest of the tooth or adding a composite to make your tooth look whole. As long as the dental pulp (the center of the tooth which contains all the nerves, connective tissues and blood vessels) is unharmed with a larger chip, it may be as simple as adding a veneer or crown to fix your damaged tooth.
In more severe circumstances a root canal may be necessary: if the pulp has been damaged, if the fracture goes below the gum line, or in some circumstances, if the fracture is vertical. If no foundation for a crown remains, your oral surgeon may need to extract the tooth and replace it with a bridge or dental implant.
What Should I Do If My Tooth Is Loose?
Time to move quickly! If your tooth is luxated (dislodged or pushed out of it’s place in the socket) your oral surgeon needs return the tooth to it’s original position and make sure it is stabilized. Quick action on your part means a better chance at saving your tooth in the long run. While every case is different, most dislodged teeth will require a root canal within 10 days. For children under 12 years old, a root canal is rarely necessary.
What Should I Do If I Knock Out My Tooth?
Seek immediate medical care if your tooth is avulsed (completely displaced from the socket.) Pick up the tooth by the crown, careful to avoid touching the roots. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it with saliva or cold water – do not use any cleaners or brush the tooth. You should then try to reposition the tooth in the socket (facing the right way), although parents or caregivers of small children should not do this and risk swallowing the tooth. If you are able to successfully reposition the tooth gently bite on a handkerchief, gauze or a clean cloth to keep it in position. The best chance your tooth has of survival is if it placed back in the socket.
If you are unable to reposition the tooth, place the tooth under the tongue to transport it. For small children you can place the tooth in a glass of milk (or saliva if you have no other option) while you are traveling. Don’t place the dislodged tooth in water. If you are able to get dental or medical care within 30 minutes after following these steps, your chances of keeping the tooth are good.
By reading this blog you’ve already taken the first step toward being prepared for an unexpected dental injury. Add Dr. Elias’ phone number at Mamaroneck Oral Surgery to your phone contacts today, you never know when the closest option will also be the most qualified, (914) 873-0045.