More than 5 million teeth are “avulsed,” or knocked out, from both adults and children each year. If a child plays sports with bodily contact, the odds they will lose a tooth through force are high. Make sure you know how to save a knocked-out tooth and have a chance to restore your child’s smile. Below are a few basic tips for saving a tooth.
Saving a Knocked-Out Tooth with Milk | Act Fast
The most critical factor to saving and preserving a tooth for successful reimplantation is time. Get to the dentist or an emergency room as quickly as possible. The possibility of reimplantation diminishes rapidly after 30 minutes. If you can’t get to help that fast, the second-best thing that you can do is properly store the tooth.
First and foremost, keep it moist. If at all possible, put the tooth back in the socket. Your next best option is to store your tooth in milk. Use a small container or bag.
So, why do we recommend using milk to save a knocked-out tooth? When the cells from the tooth’s root surface come into contact with water, they tend to swell up. They can even burst. Milk provides the necessary proteins needed to maintain the proper pH balance, anti-bacterial properties and sugars that keep these root cells growing. Storing the tooth in milk improves the chances of successful reimplantation at a dental office.
If milk isn’t available, saliva, or storing the tooth inside your mouth, is the next best option. Water is not the most effective option for preserving the tooth. If water is the only available option, however, it is better than holding the tooth in your hand.
Time and location when storing an avulsed tooth are the most important factors in a successful reimplantation. Here are some other considerations that will help improve the chances of success:
- Hold the tooth by the crown — Always grab and hold the tooth by the crown, or the chewing surface. Do not touch the root of the tooth. This can help keep the roots of the tooth cleaner. Don’t wrap the tooth in a piece of cloth or napkin. This will dry out the tooth, and it will not be viable to put back in the mouth.
- Rinse off the tooth — This step may or may not be possible depending on where you are when the tooth is knocked out. If you do have access to clean water, a gentle rinse to remove dirt and debris is advised. Remember not to use any soap or cleaning products, and never scrub the tooth. A gentle stream of water will do the trick.
Teeth can be knocked out anywhere and at any time. Take quick action and remember these basic steps. They will go a long way toward improving your chances of keeping the avulsed tooth clean, safe and able to be reimplanted. This saves hassle and expense down the road.
To learn more about our dental benefits plans for your family, click here.