During a particularly rough game of “touch” football with your friends, one of your teeth was suddenly and accidentally knocked out. Looking in the mirror right afterward, you seem to have been relatively lucky because it wasn’t one of the teeth that shows when you smile, and it doesn’t hurt either. Should you still see an emergency dentist? The definitive answer is yes. Even a missing tooth that doesn’t affect your appearance or cause pain still puts your smile at great risk, and you should always seek out care to have it replaced. Why? Read on to find out!
The Dangers of Missing Teeth
If no one can see the gap in your smile and it isn’t uncomfortable, then why does the tooth need to be replaced so badly?
When you lose a tooth, it causes a few things to start slowly happening in your mouth. Firstly, the gums and bone surrounding the tooth may start to recede and change shape because without a tooth to support, the body naturally starts resorbing nutrients from the jaw. Over time, this can cause your remaining teeth to shift into the gap, changing the alignment of your bite, which can make your teeth rub up against each other and quickly wear themselves down.
Another danger stems from the newly exposed gum tissue, as it is much more vulnerable to developing gum disease, which in addition to being very uncomfortable, is also the leading cause of tooth loss in the entire world.
What You Should Do
In order to avoid these potential hazards, you should always try to have a knocked out tooth replaced if possible. If you’re able to see a dentist fast enough, they will actually be able to reattach your natural tooth. To make this more likely, be sure to take the following steps:
- Find your lost tooth and only pick it up by the crown, never the root.
- Gently rinse it off with warm water.
- Call an emergency dentist.
- Try to place the tooth back into its socket.
- If you can’t, put it in a container of milk or saltwater until you can see the dentist.
It’s important that you keep your tooth wet until you can receive dental care in order for it to remain viable. Many dental offices are able to provide urgent same-day care for patients with knocked out teeth, and they’ll likely be able to restore your natural tooth if you get to them quickly. If they can’t, replacement options like bridges and dental implants can provide a lifelike solution that also prevents the potential problems caused by missing teeth.
All in all, a knocked out tooth is a problem no matter how hidden or painless it may be, so if you ever experience one, be sure to call an emergency dentist as soon as you can.
About the Author
Dr. Paige Prather is a general, restorative, and emergency dentist based in Nashville, TN. She currently practices at P.S. Smiles, and if you would like more tips on how to handle a knocked out tooth, she can be contacted through her website.