What do I do if I break or lose a permanent tooth? Tell me about traumatic tooth loss.

Having a great smile is something we take pride in. We brush and floss our teeth and visit our dentist on a regular basis. But what happens when you do all you can to take care of your teeth and you find yourself with a knocked out tooth? This can be a traumatic experience. Youth and young adults in sports and athletics are at particular risk of having a tooth knocked out.

If you lose a tooth through trauma (force) stay calm. This is considered a dental emergency. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. It is important to handle the knocked out tooth very carefully. Never handle it by the root. Be very careful if you want to clean a knocked out tooth. It is important not to scrub the tooth or use any type of cleanser. If you must clean it, do so very gently in whole milk or water. If possible, gentle replace the tooth back in its socket yourself. If you are not able to implant the tooth yourself, place it in a container. Cover the tooth with a small amount of saliva or whole milk to keep it moist. Do not let the tooth dry out. Do not wrap the tooth in paper or cloth.

Your dentist should be able to re-implant the tooth successfully if treated within 30 minutes of losing the tooth. To re-implant the tooth your dentist will place it back in its socket and splint the tooth to adjacent teeth. Over the course of a few weeks this process will stabilize the tooth, allowing the bone surrounding it to heal. Eat only soft foods and take caution not to chew with the healing tooth. Talk to your dentist about the best way to brush and floss your teeth during the healing process.

Wear a mouth guard to avoid a knocked out tooth if you are particularly active in contact sports.

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