How to Preserve a Broken Tooth
Dental Emergencies

How to Preserve a Broken Tooth

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Accidents happen when you least expect. Learn the steps you can take to preserve a knocked-out tooth, so your dentist has the best chance of saving it.

How To Preserve a Broken Tooth

4 minute read

There are roughly 60 million (1) dental accidents that happen worldwide each year. In fact, about one-half of the world’s population experiences dental trauma at some point in their lives. This could mean a chipped or cracked tooth, or a completely knocked-out tooth. No matter the type of dental injury, all trauma involves:

  • Stress - Especially when there is blood present
  • Urgency - To seek emergency care
  • Consultation - no matter how serious an injury

An Avulsed Tooth

A knocked-out tooth can occur through sporting accidents

A blow to the mouth can cause a tooth to dislocate out of its socket, this is known as a tooth avulsion. It can be a stressful situation that requires an immediate visit to the dentist for consultation and treatment. The force that knocks a tooth out of the mouth can also result in:

  • A cut lip
  • Fractured jaw or facial bones
  • Damaged gums and surrounding teeth
  • A lot of blood in the mouth

The most common causes (2) of a knocked-out tooth are falls, contact sports, traffic accidents and cycling.

What Happens to the Tooth?

Anatomy of a tooth

Inside the canals of each tooth root are blood vessels and nerve tissue known as tooth pulp. The tooth root's outer surface is called the periodontal ligament. While tooth pulp plays a role in forming a tooth during childhood, it no longer serves a vital role after the tooth is fully formed.

The periodontal ligament on the other hand, serves a vital function throughout life, as it holds teeth in their sockets and allows teeth to absorb the stress of chewing.

Once a tooth is knocked out, tooth pulp can’t survive, but it’s extremely important to preserve the periodontal ligament so the tooth can be reattached and continue to function.

Can a Knocked-Out Tooth Be Saved?

Can a knocked out tooth be saved

Yes, our team of experienced dental professionals can usually save a knocked-out tooth. The steps you take in the lead up to your emergency appointment may determine how successfully we can reattach the tooth. Factors that affect the long-term outcome of replanting and maintaining the tooth include:

  • How much damage has been done to the periodontal ligament and root surface
  • How long the tooth is out of its socket
  • How moist the root is kept before replacing the tooth in its socket
  • Your age (Undeveloped teeth have less chance of successful treatment)
  • Follow-up dental care

Stay Calm, Act Quickly and Take These Steps

Never hold a tooth by its root

What you do in the lead up to your emergency dental appointment, impacts how successfully we can reattach your knocked-out tooth. Take these steps to increase your chances of saving it.

  1. Remain calm and act quickly
  2. Find the tooth and pick it up by the top part only. DO NOT pick the tooth up by the root
  3. Gently rinse dirt off with water, saline solution, or milk. DO NOT rinse with soap or chemicals. DO NOT scrub the tooth. DO NOT place the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
  4. Attempt to put the tooth back in its socket gently and as quickly as possible, then gently bite down on a cloth or towel
  5. Contact our practice immediately on (08) 9470 3944

What if I Can’t Put The Tooth Back in its Socket?

What if I can't put the tooth back in its socket?

If you’re not able to put the tooth back into its socket, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Do not let the tooth become dry
  • Do not store in tap water
  • Store the tooth in milk or saliva (Preferably your own saliva).
  • Place the tooth and milk in a plastic container
  • Bring the tooth to EVP Dental as quickly as possible

What About Baby Teeth?

Book an emergency appointment at EVP Dental

Baby teeth are a little different when it comes to preserving a knocked out tooth. We don’t recommend attempting to place a baby tooth back in its socket, because it can cause difficulties in shedding the baby tooth and can damage the developing adult tooth.

EVP Dental reserves appointments for dental emergencies every day. Call our practice on (08) 9470 3944 and we’ll arrange a time to see you and your child as soon as possible.

What About Chipped or Cracked Teeth

How to preserve chipped or cracked teeth

Chipped, cracked or fractured teeth are still a cause for concern, but may not require emergency treatment like a knocked-out tooth does. It’s important to book a check-up so your dentist can determine the appropriate care needed.

Delaying treatment can result in teeth shifting out of place, dental abscesses and possibly tooth loss. Our team of dentists at EVP Dental can restore the appearance and function of your injured teeth with treatments such as:

Preventing Sporting Injuries

Prevent sporting injuries with a custom mouthguard from EVP Dental

Protecting your teeth on the sports field can help you avoid dental injuries and costly treatment. A custom mouthguard helps to significantly reduce the severity of an injury by absorbing impact and protecting teeth, jaws and soft tissues in the mouth.

Unlike an over-the-counter mouthguard, a custom-fitted mouthguard is designed by taking impressions of your teeth to precisely fit the contours of your mouth. They offer superior protection and comfort and allow you to breathe and speak normally. They can also last for several seasons before needing to be replaced.

EVP Dental reserves appointments for dental emergencies every day. Call our practice on (08) 9470 3944 for any questions or concerns about saving teeth after a dental accident, or book an appointment online.

References

  1. https://dentaltraumaguide.org/vision/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539876/