When an adult tooth gets knocked-out it can be scary, and there are lots of theories as to what is best. Some say put it in milk. Some say there's nothing you can do. Others tell you to whack it straight back in! The reality is that a lot depends on how the tooth comes out and what has happened to it since. One thing is for certain though, time is of the essence!
Luckily Northbridge Dentists have put together an easy-to-follow guide which you can find on their website under the emergencies section. The link is here:
If you cannot locate the lost tooth, place gauze or a handkerchief over the area and apply pressure for 20 minutes to help stop the bleeding. Then call your dentist.
If you can locate the tooth, the first thing to note is to NEVER HANDLE THE ROOT OF THE TOOTH. Only handle the crown - the bit you see in the mouth normally. Why? Because all along the root are microscopic little cells which need to be healthy in order for the tooth to have any chance of re-attaching in the mouth.
Whilst handling the crown of the tooth, make sure the root of the tooth isn't dirty. A quick rinse with either saline, milk or even your own saliva (yes, spit on the root of the tooth if you have to) to rinse the dirt off may be required first. The root should look intact - not broken.
Then, making sure the tooth is NOT BACKWARDS FACING (make sure the crown faces the right way), gently re-insert it into the socket.
You will need to hold it there until you can get to a dentist. They will then stabilise the tooth with a little wire. An x-ray may also be required.
If you are not comfortable in re-planting a tooth yourself, you will need to store the tooth. Saline solution is best (like for contact lenses) or saliva. Yes, milk will do at a pinch. But try not to use tap water if possible. Then hurry to your dentist.
The tooth will need a root canal, but with any luck, it will re-attach to the socket.
If a tooth is out of the mouth for less than 30 minutes, there is a 90% chance it will re-attach. If it is longer than an hour, there is only a 5-10% chance it will re-attach, so TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.
Northbridge Dentists have the dentists on call in an emergency. Their numbers are on the answering machine, so if in doubt, speak to one of your friendly Northbridge Dentists team members and they can walk you through it.