Every year, more than five million teeth get knocked out of the mouths of women, men, and kids in the United States. A good proportion of those knockouts occur during sports. Many more teeth are dislodged or broken. A consequence of oral trauma is soft-tissue injury, which can cause profuse bleeding.
If you have a dental emergency, you have to act quickly. Knowing the right steps ahead of time may save your tooth and save you time, money, and lots of pain.
Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, is an expert dentist who offers emergency dentistry for traumatic dental injuries. Whenever possible, he tries to save your natural tooth and root.
If you have a traumatic dental injury, get to our office as soon as possible, and we can accommodate you.
Here’s how we treat the four most common traumatic dental injuries once you get here.
The first part of a successful tooth reimplantation starts with you. If your tooth is knocked out, pick it up by the crown, not the root, and gently rinse away any dirt. Then, if possible, stick it back in its socket and bite down on a damp cloth until you get to our office.
If you can’t re-position the tooth (or you’re afraid your kid will swallow their own tooth), put it in a jar with either milk or saliva. Never scrub or use soap on a knocked-out tooth. Keep the tooth wet but never put it in water: Chemicals in water could damage the tooth.
Once you arrive, if your tooth is in good condition, we reposition it in the socket. We then splint it to surrounding teeth for up to a week and a half. If the bone around the tooth is also shattered, we may leave the splint in place for up to six weeks.
Depending on the health of the pulp in your tooth, you may also need a root canal to remove bacteria and damaged pulp. We do the root canal about two weeks after the re-positioning. You may need to take a round of antibiotics.
Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth
In addition to a collision or fall, bad habits such as grinding your teeth or chewing on hard objects may cause cracks, chips, or breaks. As with a knocked-out tooth, try to find the missing pieces of your broken tooth. If they’re large enough, rinse off any dirt in water and then place the pieces in a jar of milk or saliva.
If your tooth isn’t badly cracked, chipped, or broken, we may be able to mend it with a bonding procedure. In other cases, we may need to perform a root canal, which removes the inner pulp of the tooth and replaces it with a sterile, rubbery substance that stabilizes it. We then top the tooth with a porcelain crown.
Be sure to get any cracks or chips evaluated as soon as possible. Cracks, in particular, worsen without treatment. If the crack extends down into the root, it can no longer be treated, and we must remove the tooth.
Sometimes an accident isn’t quite enough to knock out your tooth, but the force is severe enough to damage the ligaments that hold your tooth in place. Your tooth may then become:
- Forced into the gum socket
- Pushed forward or back
If your tooth is dislodged, try to gently nudge it back into position. Bite gently on a damp cloth and get to our office ASAP.
If possible, we re-position the tooth and then splint it to surrounding teeth for support. If your tooth is pushed high into your gums, we pull it back into place.
Severe bleeding from oral tissues
Whether you bit your tongue or cheek, or if you were cut by a foreign object, if you’re bleeding in your mouth, you need to see a dentist right away. First, rinse your mouth in salt water, if possible.
While you’re on your way to our office, control any pain with over-the-counter painkillers or an icepack on the area. Bite down gently on a damp cloth to control bleeding.
Once you’re here, we evaluate your injuries and plan accordingly. We may stitchyour cheeks, tongue, or gums. We also check for broken or cracked teeth and treat those, too.
If you have a dental emergency, contact our office in Spring, Texas, contact us right away at 281-350-8852, or come straight to our office during office hours.