Whether by taking a fall or sustaining another physical injury to the mouth, especially among children, you could have a tooth knocked out of place in you jaw. This type of injury typically happens among single-rooted teeth, since multiple-rooted teeth have wider spread roots that better anchor them in the jaw and are protected further back in your mouth. In children, many instances of tooth loss are due to the unfinished maturation of their roots, whether in the permanent teeth that are still growing or in their temporary ones that have not yet fully degraded.
How can a knock-out happen?
We’ve listed the two typical situations that lead to tooth loss by way of “knock out.”
- As you probably guessed, a tooth is typically knocked out as a consequence of physical trauma: falling on your chin, sports accidents, getting a punch to the face, suffering a car accident, etc. When a traumatic incident happens, it’s critical that you react immediately. Your knocked-out tooth should be put in a container and kept in a moist environment, preferably the use of specialized liquids. When you aren’t in the place to purchase this type of material, regular milk is a solid substitute. You can even use your own saliva. You then go to the dentist’s office, where ideally the tooth can be cleaned and put back into place—but not all knocked-out teeth will be in good enough condition to replace to their sockets.
- Teeth are also occasionally deliberately knocked out, it cases where it is the only solution for its treatment. In such scenario, as soon as your tooth is professionally pulled out, the dentist initiates the required therapeutic process. After the therapy has been completed, your tooth is placed back into its socket. Following this type of removal in particular, your replaced tooth might be re-fixed to the surrounding teeth for added stability, though in cases of trauma this might be necessary, too.
Other side–effects of knocked-out teeth
The biggest side-effect of knocked out teeth is contamination between the incident and replantation of tooth. All traumatically knocked-out teeth are immediately contaminated once they’re out of place, and their treatment requires antibiotics. The greatest chance of being able to replace your original tooth requires immediate cleaning, and leaving it in a wet, moist environment until you make it to your dentist. Letting the tooth fester in contamination or dry out too much risk damage that will render it unusable.
Replantation of a knocked–out tooth
The time factor in replantation is crucial. Even under the best conditions, replantation will battle with a certain degree of resorption, or the body’s effort to suck the root of the tooth away from your exposed socket. If you pass more than two hours before replacing the tooth, resorption of the root becomes almost certain.
Replanted teeth are often fixed with the installation of a small wire to the tooth and its neighbors. The wire needs to cover at least one neighboring tooth on each side. After about two weeks, the wire is removed, and the dentist can check whether your replantation was a success.
You might not have even realized that knocked-out teeth can be replaced by the tooth itself, but if you take the right steps there’s a very good chance that your knocked-out tooth doesn’t have to be replaced by an implant. Be sure to wear mouth guards in contact sports, and keep your dentist’s number at the ready in case of other emergencies.