- Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. Dr. Benjamin or your general dentist may need to reposition and stabilize your tooth. Root canal treatment may be needed and usually is started within a few weeks of the injury. A medication, such as calcium hydroxide, will be placed inside the tooth. Eventually, a permanent root canal filling will be placed.
- Sometimes a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket. Again, your endodontist or general dentist may reposition and stabilize your tooth. If the pulp remains healthy, then no other treatment is necessary. Yet, if the pulp becomes damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be required.
- If an injury occurs which causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of your mouth, it is important that you are treated immediately!
- An avulsed permanent tooth is one of the few real emergency situations in dentistry.
- For the best chance at a favorable outcome, try and be seen within an hour of the injury. Time is of the essence.
- If this happens to you, keep the tooth moist. If possible, put it back into the socket. A tooth can be saved if it remains moist and is addressed within a certain time period. Do not hesitate and call our office or your dentist immediately for guidance. You can put the tooth in milk or a glass of water (add a pinch of salt.) to keep it moist if you do not feel comfortable replanting the tooth.
- The length of time the tooth was out of your mouth and the way the tooth was stored, may influence the type of treatment options available.
- If a tooth is avulsed, make sure it is a permanent tooth (primary “baby” teeth should not be replanted).
- Keep calm.
- Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
- If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. Try to replant the tooth. Bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
- If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk or a special storage media for avulsed teeth if available (e.g. Hanks balanced storage medium or saline). The tooth can also be transported in your mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek. If this happens to a child who is very young, he/she could swallow the tooth- therefore it is advisable to get the child to spit in a container and place the tooth in it. Avoid storage in water!
- Seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
Tooth Injuries in Children
An injured immature tooth may need one of the following procedures to improve the chances of saving the tooth:
- This procedure encourages the root to continue development as the pulp is healed. Soft tissue is covered with medication to encourage growth. The tip of the root (apex) will continue to close as the child gets older. In turn, the walls of the root canal will thicken. If the pulp heals, no additional treatment will be necessary. The more mature the root becomes, the better the chance to save the tooth.
- In this case, the unhealthy pulp is removed. The doctors place medication into the root to help a hard tissue form near the root tip. This hardened tissue provides a barrier for the root canal filling. At this point, the root canal walls will not continue to develop, making the tooth susceptible to fractures. So it is important to have the tooth properly restored by your dentist.