Knocked out teeth

What is a ‘knocked out tooth’?

A knocked-out tooth is when the entire tooth is dislodged from the gum and the root has separated also. The tooth will be in no way connected to the gums.

What causes a 'knocked out tooth’?

Teeth that are knocked out are just that - they have had trauma to the area and the tooth is separated from the gum and mouth. This could be from:
  • Sporting accidents
  • Eating hard foods such as hard-boiled candies or apples
  • Trauma to the face

How to prevent a knocked-out tooth?

Usually, a tooth being knocked out is hard to foresee, but we recommend the following to decrease your chances of knocking a tooth out.
  • Wearing a mouthguard during physical activities
  • If you have a severe overjet, your front teeth are more likely to be damaged or knocked-out by accident, hence it is worth considering orthodontic treatment.

How to treat a knocked-out tooth?

When a tooth is knocked out of your mouth, the first thing to do is find it. Once you have got it, hold it by the part that would be out of the gum (the crown) and avoid touching the root. If the tooth is dirty you will need to clean it with your own saliva or water, if you do clean it with water, clean it for no longer than 10 seconds. Do not scrub the tooth as you risk damaging vital tissue on the tooth surface.

The next steps depend on if the tooth can be reinserted into the hole in your gum, if it can, bite down using a tissue/handkerchief to apply pressure as you bite. You will need to call your dentist for an emergency appointment. The dentist will perform an X-ray to ensure the tooth is correctly placed, and permitting it is- they will splint the tooth to the surrounding teeth, ensuring it is held into place and heals correctly. The splint will be on for a minimum of two weeks.

If the patient is a child, and it is a milk tooth, do not reinsert the tooth (this can damage the adult tooth underneath the gum).

If you’re unable to insert the tooth into the hole of the gum, you will need to place the tooth in milk and request an emergency appointment at your dentist. Once at the dentist, they will numb the impacted area, reinsert the tooth and apply a splint to the surrounding teeth making sure it will heal in the correct position.

For a missing tooth, your dentist can offer a few different treatments. This might be a bridge; a bridge is a fake tooth that is glued to surrounding teeth using a strong bonding agent. Another solution is a denture, a replacement false tooth which should be taken off to clean daily, this is removable solution. If suitable, implants are a good long-term solution. To place an implant the dentist will drill into the jawbone and place a screw. An impression of the area will be taken, and a fake tooth will be made and fitted to the screw.

How to spot a knocked-out tooth/symptoms?

A knocked-out tooth will leave a gap where it once was, and the gum may be swollen and bleeding. You might notice facial swelling and potentially even have cuts or scratches in the affected area.

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