A knocked-out (avulsed) tooth is a dental emergency that occurs when a tooth is completely displaced from its socket as a result of an accident or external force. This type of injury can happen to anyone at any age and is relatively common, particularly in children and adolescents participating in contact sports.
It is important to act quickly and correctly when a tooth is knocked out to increase the chances of saving the tooth. The first step is to locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part of the tooth) and avoid touching the root (the white part under the crown). If the tooth is dirty, rinse it gently with water for no more than 10 seconds, and then gently place it back into the socket if possible. Hold the tooth in place by biting down gently or by using a clean piece of gauze.
If the tooth cannot be placed back into the socket, it can be stored in a container of milk or a product called Save-A-Tooth, which is a special container that is designed to preserve the tooth until you can get to a dentist or endodontist. It is important not to let the tooth dry out, as this can damage the cells that are necessary for reattachment.
You should seek immediate dental attention, ideally within the first hour after the injury, as the chances of saving the tooth decrease as time goes on. An endodontist is a dental specialist who is trained to diagnose and treat problems related to the pulp and the nerves of teeth, including avulsed teeth. They are equipped with the necessary expertise and technology to diagnose and treat TDIs, which can help to save the injured tooth and prevent further complications.
Once you are in the dental office, the dentist or endodontist will assess the tooth and the surrounding tissue to determine the best course of treatment. They may need to do a root canal, splint the tooth to the adjacent tooth, or in some cases, they might extract the tooth if it is not possible to save it.
It’s important to keep in mind that the most important factor in saving an avulsed tooth is the time between the injury and the start of treatment, so it’s crucial to seek immediate dental attention if a tooth is knocked out.