September 11, 2012

What Do I Do If My Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

Research and clinical studies have shown that a tooth that has gotten knocked out (an avulsed tooth) can be successfully put back in the socket (reimplanted) with excellent long-term results.  However, this success can only be realized if new treatment regimens are applied. 

There are eight categories of avulsed teeth and treatment guidelines for each one of them.  The first four categories involve mature teeth that have fully developed roots and fully formed root tips.  The next four categories are for teeth that are immature and are not fully developed and have root tips that are incompletely formed. 

Thirty years ago, the recommendations to patients for the management of avulsed teeth was a simple, “one-size-fits-all approach: retrieve the teeth, wash them off, and push them back into their sockets.  If that is not possible, the patient should drop them in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible.

For dentists, too, 30 years ago it was just as much a one-size-fits-all approach: remove teeth from the transportation device, do the root canal therapy in their hand, reimplant the teeth and splint them into place, prepare the patient’s parents for eventual failure and hope that the subsequent root resorption would leave the crown of the tooth in place until the patient was 18.

For patients, the only liquid that has clearly shown beneficial effects preserving the root cells is a pH-balanced solution.  There are two products available on the market for parents and sports teams to have on hand in case of an accident: Save-A-Tooth and emt TOOTHSAVER.  Significant success rates of reimplanted avulsed teeth can be achieved if they are placed within 60 minutes of the accident and stored in either of these products before visiting the dentist.

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