Sometimes a tooth is completely displaced from its socket as a result of severe trauma to the tooth. A knocked-out tooth is referred to as avulsed tooth by dentists.
An avulsed permanent tooth is considered one of the few real emergency situations in dentistry. When a tooth is knocked out during an accident, the nerves, blood vessels, and supporting tissues undergo permanent damage and can’t be repaired.
That is why all avulsed teeth will require root canal treatment. However, the bone can reform around the root of the tooth once it’s positioned back into place.
Dentists should always be prepared to give relevant instructions to the people about first aid for avulsed teeth, so the knocked-out tooth is not damaged further.
How can you improve the chances of saving the tooth?
It is extremely important that you get to the dentist as soon as possible after a tooth has been knocked out. Before reaching to the dentist’s office, you can prevent your tooth and the site of trauma from further damage and improve the chances of saving the tooth.
Here are several tips you can follow to prevent damaging of tooth even before you reach your dentist –
- Just after knocking off the tooth clean the area with saline or water spray.
- Handle the tooth gently and try not to touch the root of the tooth as it can get damaged easily.
- If the tooth gets dirty, rinse it with milk without touch the root of the tooth. If milk is not available then clean the tooth with water. (1)
- It is essential to keep the knocked-out tooth moist. Keep the tooth inside a small container or a cup and add some milk or saline to prevent the root from drying out. If you can’t get milk, then put the teeth in the water.
- Try putting the knocked-out tooth back into its socket. Many a time it will slip right back. Don’t try to force the tooth into the socket and if it doesn’t fit in the socket then keep the tooth in the milk until you reach to your dentist’s office.
What your dentist will do?
It is very important to re-implant the tooth back into the socket as soon as possible, ideally within an hour of the accident. Slipping the tooth back in the natural position can be simple sometimes, but other times it may be complicated.
For instance, when the bone or the tooth is broken. An avulsed tooth is a real dental emergency and the dentist will start the treatment right away. (2)
Here is the procedure the dentist may follow to manage the knocked out tooth –
- Your dentist will use water, saline, or chlorhexidine to flush all debris from the socket.
- The dentist may start a root canal treatment right away or may wait. The course of treatment will depend on how long the tooth was out of the socket and various other factors.
- The dentist will splint the avulsed tooth to the teeth present on either side of the avulsed with a soft wire or composite material, and this will be used to hold the tooth on accurate position for several days. (3)
After the dentist splints the avulsed teeth, the root usually reattaches firmly to the bone in about three to four weeks if the bone around the tooth has not been fractured.
In the case of severe damage to the area, the bone and the tooth requires six to eight weeks of repair time.
Management of avulsed teeth after the treatment
Your dentist will give you post-operative instructions, which are essential to follow to avoid the displacement of tooth again or any other type of discomfort.
- Consume only soft diet for at least two weeks.
- Brush your teeth gently with a soft brush after every meal.
- Rinse your mouth twice a day with a chlorhexidine mouth rinse for at least a week.
- Avoid hot and spicy food.
- Avoid smoking and other tobacco products.
- Consume a healthy diet to accelerate the healing process.
- Visit your dentist regularly to ensure that tooth has re-implanted correctly.
Your teeth can completely displace from its natural position owing to trauma. After the tooth is knocked-out of the socket, you should immediately rush to a dentist.
Keep the avulsed teeth in milk or water before to go to a dentist to prevent the root from drying out. The chances of saving a tooth are more in young children, but adult tooth can also be saved. (4)
Your dentist may perform a root canal treatment if required and will try to re-implant the tooth in the socket. In a few weeks, the bone starts to grow around the root of the teeth and provide the tooth a proper anchorage.
Your dentist will examine the previously knocked-out tooth again in three to six months to check if the re-implantation has been done successfully.