BASICS ON WHAT TO DO IF A TOOTH GETS KNOCKED OUT:
We refer to this clinically as an 'avulsed tooth'. Avulsion refers to a tooth that has been knocked out from its socket, typically after a traumatic incident.
N.B. it is not advised to re-implant baby teeth, as it may risk damage to developing successor teeth. So we’ll be referring to avulsed permanent teeth in terms of treatment.
A tooth which has been knocked out is considered a dental emergency. There are steps you can take to maximise success rates of replanting the tooth.
Here are key principles patient/dentist can follow in terms of management:
a) handle the tooth carefully, hold the tooth by the crown (part of tooth visible in the mouth), we do not want to contaminate the root surface.
b) try and re-plant the tooth into the socket if it is clean and ask the patient to bite on a handkerchief to stabilise the tooth in position. Keep the patient like this for at least 10 mins.
c) if the tooth is dirty rinse under dirty water briefly for 10 secs, then replant.
d) AVOID STORING THE TOOTH IN WATER. If the tooth cannot be replanted, store in milk/saline or saliva of the patient (could ask patient to spit in cup or the tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek) until you see a dentist.
Even if you soundly manage to replant the tooth, go see the dentist as precautionary measure to avoid complications.
The next post will continue to explain the management of avulsed teeth with focus on the types of avulsion that may exist and the professional treatment.