Three Immediate Steps To Take When You've Lost Or Broken A Tooth

If you've experienced a lost or broken tooth, there are certain steps you can take to minimize the damage and avoid irreparable damage. Outlined below are the three most important steps to take immediately following the accident or injury.

First: Evaluate the Damage

There are two kinds of loss: Partial and full. While each kind requires medical attention, a partial loss isn't as time-sensitive as a full loss, unless you're experiencing pain or the tooth has cracked to the root.

If your tooth was knocked out of your mouth, it's vital that you only touch the crown and avoid touching the root. Doing so could result in irreversible damage, preventing re-implantation. If dirt or debris is present, the best way to clean it off is with saliva. Never run under water, brush it with toothpaste, or use rubbing alcohol—all of these methods could seriously damage the roots and prevent restorative measures.

Second: Preserve the Tooth

Preservation of the tooth is most important when the full tooth has been lost. This can be done in two ways: saliva and milk.

Saliva, being the natural option, is the most effective preservation technique for a lost tooth. For best results, gently place the tooth back into the socket and cover with gauze. Gently bite down on the gauze to apply a small bit of pressure to the tooth, but not enough to cause pain or irritation. If placing into the socket isn't an option, place between the gums and cheek. If you're worried about swallowing the tooth, place in milk.

Third: Seek Medical Treatment

The full loss of a tooth is considered a medical emergency and you should be seen within the hour at a company like Larchmont Dental Arts LLC. The odds of re-implantation are good if attempted within 30 minutes of the loss.

While a partial loss is not as time-sensitive, you can't know the extent of the damage without the help of a medical professional. To preserve the root, a root canal may need to be performed immediately to properly reattach the roots and prevent any further damage from occurring. Until you know otherwise, it's best that you treat a chipped or broken tooth just as a dental emergency. Failure to do so could lead to full extraction of the tooth and costly dental procedures.

By following the three steps outlined above, you may just be able to save the tooth that you lost or that has become chipped or broken. After a quick evaluation of the damage, preservation is most important. Medical treatment should be sought immediately. If you're unable to see a dentist within the hour, your next stop should be the nearest emergency room.