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4 steps to take after knocking out a tooth

Don't avoid fun because of fear

4 steps to take after knocking out a tooth

A survey from the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) shows that nearly a third of adults say they fear getting a tooth knocked out more than breaking a bone or tearing a muscle, and more than a third say they avoided sports for fear of getting their teeth knocked out.

“While knocking out a tooth can have devastating effects on your smile and oral health, proper actions can help save the tooth so that it can be replanted successfully and last for years to come,” says Dr. Craig S. Hirschberg, president, AAE.

Not everyone knows what to do in the event of a knocked-out tooth. That’s why the American Association of Endodontists and the International Association of Dental Traumatology (IADT) are encouraging everybody to review and remember these steps to take that may help increase the chances of saving the tooth.

1. Locate the tooth immediately; don’t leave it at the site of the accident. Pick it up by the crown (the chewing surface), not the root, and handle it carefully. To minimize injury to the root, touch only the crown. If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with water only.

2. Insert the tooth back into its socket immediately, if possible. The sooner the tooth is back in its socket, the greater the likelihood it will survive. To insert the tooth, gently push the tooth into the socket with your fingers. Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or have the injured person gently bite down on it. A gauze can be used to bite on as well.

READ MORE: Oral care experts share tips to keep kid’s smiles healthy 

3. Keep the tooth moist at all times. The tooth must not be left outside the mouth to dry. If it cannot be placed back in the socket, place the tooth in an emergency tooth preservation kit or milk. If none of these options are practical, use water.

4. Seek professional help immediately: Dial 911 if there are other injuries to tend to. You may wish to see an endodontist or the nearest available dentist within 30 minutes or as quickly as possible. Endodontists often are available on short notice, and they are specialists who have completed an additional two or more years of training beyond dental school. Their advanced training makes them ideally suited to save a knocked-out tooth in many cases.

To learn more about the safe and effective treatment for a knocked-out tooth, and to locate AAE member endodontists in your area, who are dedicated to the highest standards of excellence in endodontic care, click here. To locate IADT member dentists, who are experts in the treatment of knocked-out teeth and other dental injuries, visit their website.

In fact, when it comes to learning more about knocked out teeth, did you know there is an app for that? The IADT recommends downloading its ToothSOS app, which provides information for both patients and professionals in the event of traumatic tooth injury. For patients, the app provides easy to understand emergency steps to take in all dental injuries. Find it in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Additional information in graphic form for free download is available in a “Save-a-Tooth” poster here. The poster, suitable for posting in schools, sports venues and other sites, is available with translation into more than 60 languages.

“Whether it’s due to an accident or a sports injury, knocking out a tooth doesn’t necessarily mean your tooth is lost for good. Taking the right steps at the right time can save your tooth,” says Dr. Liran Levin, president, IADT.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) American Association of Endodontists

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