Quick – you or someone you know has just lost a tooth! How long do you have to save it – 15 minutes? An hour? Overnight?
Wrong – you have 30 minutes to get to the dentist in order to save that tooth. Get in the car and head to Overmeyer Family Dental in Orlando as fast as possible. Call us at (407) 603-3839 while you’re on the way and we’ll be ready to receive you as soon as you arrive!
Why Only 30 Minutes?
Your tooth might look like just a piece of bone but it’s a lot more than that. There are blood vessels and nerves that run through the center of your tooth, known as the dental pulp, that can die or become infected with bacteria if your tooth remains outside your mouth for long. Even within that 30-minute window serious harm can occur!
It is essential that a lost tooth is placed back into the socket if at all possible. Waiting to do so can result in several different serious conditions that can prevent proper healing and rebonding of a tooth.
- It doesn’t take long for cells on your tooth’s root to die. These special cells are responsible for creating a solid bond between tooth and jaw tissues and without them your tooth won’t have any way to anchor to the socket.
- Waiting for much longer than 30 minutes can lead to an inability for the tooth to remain healthy after replacement. In many cases your jaw will bond directly with the tooth, causing it to break down and turn into regular bone tissue. Over time this leads to root loss and eventual loss of the tooth.
- In many cases of lost teeth the dental pulp dies. The quicker the replacement of the tooth the less serious the outcomes can be, but a lost tooth will frequently require a root canal just for safety purposes – it’s better to remove dead pulp than to let it cause an infection later on!
- The longer you wait to replace a tooth the harder its chances to stay in place. Waiting longer than half an hour is almost a guarantee that the tooth will eventually be lost to reabsorption with the bone of the jaw.
Steps To Saving Your Tooth
It’s important to handle the tooth very carefully and to follow certain procedures to make restoration as easy and successful as possible.
- Never handle the tooth by anything other than the crown. The root should never be touched!
- Rinse the tooth off in cool water, taking care to get any dirt or blood off of it. You don’t want that stuff staying on there – it could cause damage or transfer of bacteria to your body.
- The best way to protect a tooth between injury and seeing us at Overmeyer Family Dental is to place it back in the socket. If this isn’t possible the next best option is a cup of milk or inside the cheek. Never let a tooth dry out – that’s a recipe for disaster.
- If you were able to replace the tooth in the socket be sure to keep constant pressure on it. This will prevent further heavy bleeding and help remove accumulated blood in the socket.
When you arrive at Overmeyer Family Dental we may remove and reposition the tooth but we’ll do so once you’ve been numbed up and we’ve helped you feel better. Our goal in these kinds of traumatic situations is always to get you feeling better before we proceed with treatment.
As mentioned above, aroot canalis a definite possibility once your tooth has healed and become secure again. Don’t believe the hype about these tooth-saving procedures: they’ll help you maintain the protection that a natural tooth provides and eliminate the risk of infection from decaying dental pulp.
Emergencies Require Immediate Treatment!
As Dr. Tom says, the first question we have in a dental emergency is “how soon can you get here?” Don’t risk permanent tooth loss when an accident occurs. We can help you keep your tooth!
If you’ve knocked out a tooth or are having any other kind of dental emergency don’t wait – call us today at 407-603-3839 right away! You can also request an appointment for non-emergency needs by filling out our online form. We look forward to helping you!