It is surprisingly common, through a number of reasons, for adults to have a tooth knocked out. When this happens there may be a chance that the tooth can be replanted back into place.
Each year, millions of teeth will be accidently knocked out. Getting into a fight, enjoying a favorite sport, and biting on hard food, appear to be the most common reasons for a healthy tooth to either be partially or fully knocked out.
The sooner you can visit a dentist, the better chance there is of replanting and saving a tooth. By following some simple steps you will further increase the chances of success.
By holding the tooth by the edge and avoiding touching the root area, you decrease the chances of permanently damaging the root.
If the tooth has come out altogether and is dirty, rinsing it with water is an idea, but do not use anything other than water. Do not use soap or any other cleaning product on the tooth, and do not try to remove dirt from the root area by rubbing or scrubbing it. Do not try to dry the tooth.
If possible try to put the tooth back into the socket. If this isn’t possible, it’s important to keep the tooth moist. You can do this by placing it inside the mouth, or in milk. Don’t let the tooth dry out, and don’t place it in regular water. If you can’t hold it in your mouth, and you don’t have access to milk, you could store it in your own saliva.
Do not wrap the knocked out tooth in tissue etc., as this will encourage the root of the tooth to dry out, and this is precisely what you want to avoid.
You can actually purchase a tooth saving kit from a variety of places. Some people even keep them in their first aid kit. However, most people never think about having a tooth knocked out, until it actually happens.
In ideal circumstances you would visit a dentist within 30 minutes of knocking out the tooth. However, this is not always possible, and teeth have been saved well after this time period. Contact the dental clinic as soon as possible to discuss the specific circumstances, and note the approximate time the accident happened.
- Time is of the essence.
- Avoid touching the root area.
- If the tooth is partially removed – try to put it back into place.
- If the tooth is totally removed – rinse it if dirty, try to put it back in place, or store in mouth, milk, saliva.
- Contact a dentist.
Losing a healthy tooth is not totally unavoidable, but you can take measure to minimize the risks. Wearing a mouth guard when playing sports can help prevent accidently knocking teeth out. Avoiding very hard foods will also help you to avoid tooth damage.
If you do knock out a tooth, you may wonder whether dental insurance covers dental treatment to replace that tooth. The answer depends on your specific coverage.
Many policies do not cover such treatment. However, some health insurance plans do cover the cost of a dental accident. Therefore, you’ll need to discuss this with your provider.
The problem is that when you knock out a tooth, treatment is more successful the sooner it happens. Spending valuable time dealing with your insurance providers may be the last thing on your mind. This is one reason why clarifying the specifics of your dental coverage is better done when you start a dental plan.
Although some organizations offer free dental treatment, it is unlikely that you would be able to seek out free treatment immediately.