One of the most common queries we are asked is what happens if someone has an accident and a tooth Falls out or is broken.
Depending on where the toothache is and how it breaks will very much depend on what you should do. I’m going to go through what will happen in different scenarios and what is best to do to make sure that you get the best outcome possible.
OK, let’s say your little one was running and fell, and the front tooth popped out. What do you do?
If they are little as an under five or six, and it’s a front tooth, and you know that it’s a baby tooth truthfully there isn’t much to do. Pick it up clean it off and arrange an appointment with the dentist. If it is a baby tooth, the dentist isn’t likely to do anything as the adult tooth is likely to come out without any issues…it may be time to contact the tooth fairy! They may want to take some x-rays to check that the adult tooth is OK and that should be it. Obviously, if the child is likely to be screaming and shouting in a bit of pain, however, from a practical point of view the dentist won’t have to do much if anything at all.
I think it’s an adult tooth…
If you think it’s an adult tooth and the child is still young, pop the tooth in some milk and transport it to the dentist along with your child. It could still be savable and if it is an adult tooth the dentist will try to reimplant (stick it back in). We used to advise patients to put it in themselves…the majority of patients were not so keen on this idea.
Ensuring you get to a dentist in less than an hour because for every minute after that hour, the chance that the tooth will successfully reimplant will reduce.
This advice can be the same for an adult as well. Stick it in some milk and get to your dentist ASAP.
This time the tooth isn’t out, just broken!
Whether it is an adult or a kid, attending the dentist as soon as possible is important. Very rarely, the broken tooth can actually be glued back together (please do not do this at home). Sometimes the tooth may require a crown or filling and in some cases, the tooth may require root treatment.
If you are really unlucky the tooth may need to be removed as it dies and leads to more problems or if the tooth is broken further down it cannot always be saved.
The tooth is out of position – not broken or out
If the tooth is in the wrong position when you attend the dentist, they will try and put it in the correct position. Usually, this involves being numbed up, and the dentist will use their fingers to sort it out. After the position has been corrected, it may be that the tooth needs a splint. This is typically a wire stuck and white filling material to the tooth and 1 or 2 neighbouring teeth for a period from 10 days to 3 months, depending on the severity of the tooth displacement.
If a tooth had fallen out and been replanted (stuck back in) they will also splint their tooth for support.
Short and sweet. Some advice and guidance on what to do and what the dentist will do. If you have a dental emergency call your local surgery for advice, if you are not registered call 111 for advice if you are based in the UK.
-Dr Abraham McCarthy