As children, we expect to lose teeth, and we eagerly anticipate the arrival of the tooth fairy. Once our adult teeth appear, we expect to keep them for life. Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, that is increasingly possible. Good hygiene and regular dental care can stave off gum disease and cavities. However, even the healthiest teeth are not immune to fastballs, auto accidents, or tumbles down the stairs. Aside from wearing a mouth guard during sports, you can do very little to prevent a tooth being knocked out.

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Once that tooth is lost, you might think it is gone forever, but that’s not always the case. In some situations, the tooth can be successfully reattached. To be honest, that only happens in about ten percent of cases, but the success rate depends largely on how you handle the situation. Here are step-by-step instructions for saving your tooth:

  • Call Pleasant Dental® ASAP! This is the first step in any dental emergency. Dr. Dietrich will make every effort to see you immediately if he is in the office. If you have a tooth knocked out when our office is closed, you might want to visit the ER, because fast action is imperative.
  • Rinse your mouth gently with saline solution (lukewarm salt water). Be careful not to damage the socket.
  • Locate the tooth. Be careful to pick it up by the crown (the visible part). Rinse it gently in water only if necessary, but do not remove or damage any tissue that is still attached.
  • Place the tooth back in its socket, very carefully and make sure it is not backwards. Don’t force it – if it won’t go back in place easily, you have a couple of options. Perhaps the best solution is to hold it inside your mouth, against your cheek. Alternately, you can place it in a sterile container with milk or Save-A-Tooth formula. Either of these will keep it hydrated and help keep cells alive. It only takes 15 minutes for a lost tooth to begin dying.
  • Get to our office or the ER right away. For the best chances of re-attachment, you should see a professional within one hour. Remember – in a dental emergency, call Pleasant Dental® at (708) 576-1900.

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