Losing a permanent tooth can be an upsetting experience no doubt, but knowing what to do and how to respond can help. This FAQ addresses some of the most pertinent issues regarding permanent tooth loss, so you'll know what to comes next after a permanent tooth is lost for whatever reason.
Can a lost permanent tooth be reattached to your jaw?
If you reach a dentist quickly enough and if the lost tooth isn't damaged, a lost permanent tooth may be reinserted into your mouth. Knowing what to do to protect your tooth immediately after it's knocked out of your mouth can help you save your tooth.
What procedure should you follow if you lose a permanent tooth?
If you lose a permanent tooth, the first thing you should do is locate the tooth. If the tooth isn't in your mouth, look carefully on the ground around you. Be careful where you step, because crushing the tooth with your foot can cause damage that can prevent it from being reinserted later.
Once you've found the tooth, pick it up by the crown (the part of the tooth that bites into food). Don't pick up the tooth by the root. Rinse the tooth off to remove any obvious dirt, then put the tooth somewhere safe. The safest place to keep your tooth while you're trying to reach the dentist is in your mouth. Simply put the tooth back in the hole where it used to be, and bite down gently to keep the tooth in place. If you find this idea too disturbing, put the tooth in a container of milk or saliva, or tuck the tooth into the space between your teeth and your cheek. Don't put the tooth in a glass of water, because water can damage the root follicles.
Once the tooth is safely stored, go to the dentist as quickly as possible. You may want to call your dentist from the road to tell him or her that you're having a dental emergency, but don't wait to make an appointment.
If your tooth is permanently lost, is a prosthetic tooth an option?
For many patients who have lost a permanent tooth, prosthetic replacements (known as dental implants) are an option. Dental implants look, feel and function like natural teeth. A typical implant consists of a titanium post inserted into the jaw, and a porcelain cap (resembling a tooth) placed on top of the post.
How can you tell if you would be a good candidate for a dental implant?
After determining that the permanent tooth can't be reinserted into your mouth, your dentist will evaluate your dental health and make recommendations based on his or her findings. For more information about dental implants, talk to a dentist, such as one from Alliance Family Dental. He or she can answer your questions and tell you whether or not you would be a good candidate for a dental implant.