At my son’s football game, I noticed one of the opposing team’s players lost a tooth. He just spit it out and put it in his sock and kept playing. It made me wonder if my son lost a tooth during the game (or anywhere else) is it possible to save an adult tooth in that situation? If so, what would you have to do?
I’m going to ask you a question before getting to yours. Was the boy who lost his tooth not wearing his mouthguard? Just in case your son’s school doesn’t enforce them wearing a mouth guard, make sure you do. It’s very important to protect teeth during sports, especially contact sports of any kind.
Now, on to your actual question. Yes, there are certain situations in which an adult tooth which has been knocked out can be saved. However, it is a dental emergency and time is of the essence. You need to get the tooth (and the person the tooth belongs to) to the dentist within 30 minutes.
Here are some tips in obtaining a successful outcome:
- Get to the dentist fast
- Don’t touch the root of the tooth, just the crown
- Keep the tooth moist, either in a cup of milk or in the area between your cheek and gums
- Call the dentist and let him or her know you’re on the way and why so they can be ready when you arrive.
What if the Tooth Can’t Be Saved?
There is always a possibility that the tooth cannot be saved. In that case, it’s time to start looking at a tooth replacement. You don’t want to put this off because the adjacent teeth will start shifting into the empty space making it difficult to fit something of similar size in there.
I’m relating options for adults first, whose jaws have stopped growing. In the case of a teen, you’d want a temporary replacement while they’re growing, then trade it out for one of the better, permanent options.
The top-of-the-line replacement for a tooth is a dental implant. This is made of three parts: the implant itself (which serves as a prosthetic tooth root), an abutment (which connects the implant to the crown), and a porcelain crown. It’s like having a healthy tooth again.
The next stage down would be to get a dental bridge. This suspends a false tooth between two porcelain crowns which will fit over the adjacent teeth. This is a decent option, but will make more sense if one of the adjacent teeth already needs a crown. Otherwise, you end up grinding down healthy tooth structure.
If neither of those are in your budget, you can get a removable partial denture. Just bear in mind, as its name suggests, that these aren’t secured to your jaw, so they’ll move and will be removed every night to clean them. They’re clasped to natural teeth with a false tooth attached. It does put some stress on the teeth.
A dental flipper is the final option. However, it’s really only meant to be a temporary solution. Generally, it’s used when someone is saving up for a better replacement or when the patient is too young for an implant, such as a teen. They only last a few years.
I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. Ashley Price.