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When you lose a permanent tooth

Losing a permanent tooth is different from losing a tooth as a child. You’re overwhelmed with shock and dread after losing a tooth that won’t grow back. There’s no visit from the tooth fairy for this one and there certainly won’t be any cash under your pillow. However, an accidental or traumatic tooth loss doesn’t always mean the tooth can’t be saved.

Your tooth can be saved and properly replanted so that it will last for years to come if you take the right steps and receive the necessary emergency care. In this article, we’ll examine what to do and how to save a tooth in the event that it is knocked out.

What should you do immediately after you lose a permanent tooth? 

The first thing to keep in mind is that the sooner you visit the dentist after you lose a permanent tooth, the better off you’ll be in the long term. You might be unsure of whether to visit an emergency hospital or a dental practice. You should visit an emergency dentist since an ER doctor won’t be able to assist you with a dental emergency unless the loss of your tooth is accompanied with another injury that requires medical attention.

There are a few things to keep in mind that could have a significant impact on how things turn out. First, make sure not to touch the bottom, the root, because it can be easily damaged. You should be cautious and careful when handling your tooth. Use your own saliva or milk to rinse it out if it’s dirty; avoid getting any soap or other chemicals in contact with it. Don’t clean it with a washcloth, shirt, or any fabric because this can also damage the tooth. 

Next, keep the tooth wet. Place it in a cup of milk. You can also put the tooth in your mouth, in the space between your cheek and gum. If you have no other options, put the tooth in a cup of water. The main goal is to make sure the tooth doesn’t dry out.

What will your dentist do when you get the tooth to them?

Sometimes it’s easy to put the tooth back in. However, if the tooth or bone is shattered, it can be complicated. Most likely, your dentist will use water to clear the socket of dirt. The tooth will then be reinserted at that point. Re-implanting the tooth as quickly as possible is crucial as the ideal time for this to happen is immediately after the accident to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. 

Your dentist may decide you need a root canal immediately or may decide to wait a while. How long the tooth was out of the mouth, among other things, will determine the best course of action. In either instance, the dentist will use a soft wire and/or composite material to splint the avulsed tooth to the teeth on either side. For several days, this will be used to secure the tooth in place. How long the splint should be worn will be decided by your dentist.

The root should firmly reattach to the bone in three to four weeks if the surrounding bone wasn´t broken or fractured. It might take six to eight weeks to heal if there was more damage to the area.

In three to six months, have the tooth checked by your dentist again. The subsequent appointment will take place at your yearly physical unless there are symptoms of infection. Over the following few years, your dentist will perform frequent inspections to make sure the tooth was successfully re-implanted.

What if the tooth doesn’t reattach? What are your options then?

If for some reason the tooth can’t be re-implanted, there are other options for restoring your teeth and protecting the long-term health of your teeth. 

Implants

options for when you lose a permanent tooth

Usually, an implant is the best choice to replace just one tooth. The amount of bone where the implant will be put in must be carefully measured in order to ensure that there will be enough support for the implanted tooth. Your dentist may take imprints of your teeth and perform CT scans of your teeth to determine the quantity and quality of accessible bone for the implant. 

If your jawbone isn’t able to support the implant, your dentist will perform a surgical treatment to add bone or a substance that resembles bone to your jawbone. Then, you will need to wait a couple months so the bone can heal before getting the implant. 

Next, the titanium screw that replaces a tooth root will be inserted into your jaw. The screw has a cap that resembles a tiny stud in your gum. Your gum will then need to heal again over the following few weeks, and your jawbone will grow around the screw to firmly hold it in place.

Bridges

options for when you lose a permanent tooth

A bridge is a good choice for replacing many teeth since it consists of prosthetic teeth attached to a metal frame. The frame is attached to supports which are either implants or healthy teeth.

If more teeth are being replaced, then more natural teeth or implants are required to provide the bridge with the appropriate support.

While getting a bridge is quicker than receiving an implant, you will still need several visits: the first for imaging and impressions, the second for preparing the supporting teeth for crowns and the third for fitting the permanent bridge.

Final thoughts

When you lose a permanent tooth, it can be easy to panic or ignore the problem altogether. However, failing to do anything about it will only result in more stress and pain down the road. Let our dental office in Tigard put you at ease and outline your options for you!

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