Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Knocked-Out Tooth

Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Knocked-Out Tooth

If you’ve had a tooth knocked out, then by definition you’ve experienced a traumatic event. That is, you didn’t lose it to disease or decay, but by a force strong enough to unseat your tooth from your jawbone, sever the roots and nerves, and pop it clean out of your mouth.

Even if you don’t mind the resulting gap, the facial trauma warrants a professional evaluation by a maxillofacial specialist like those on our team here at Oral Facial Surgery Specialists at The Woodlands

Led by Dr. Oscar Muñiz, our double-board certified maxillofacial and oral surgeon, we care for patients throughout The Woodlands, Texas, after traumatic events, such as car crashes, sports injuries, falls, and acts of violence. 

Here’s what you need to know if your injuries include a knocked-out tooth.

What to do when your tooth gets knocked out

If you’ve just suffered from a traumatic injury involving your face, a knocked-out tooth may seem like the least of your worries. But if you’re able, do your best to find the tooth, because there’s a good chance we can save it.

Time and proper handling are critical to saving your tooth. Pick up the tooth by the crown, not the roots. Do not rub or wipe the tooth even if it's covered in dirt or gravel. We can clean it when you get here. If you try to clean it yourself, you may further damage or dislodge some valuable roots and ligaments.

Place the tooth in a container of salt water or milk if possible. If not, slip it into your mouth and hold it between your cheek and gums; your saliva will keep it moist until we can evaluate the situation.

What happens when you lose a tooth

Losing an adult tooth has consequences that you may not realize. Here’s how a lost tooth affects your health.

Facial trauma

Although it’s possible that a knocked-out tooth is the only consequence of your accident, it’s very likely you also sustained damage to other hard and soft tissues. You may have cuts on your face, broken bones, a fractured jaw, or lacerations inside your mouth. 

Some injuries aren’t obvious to the untrained eye, such as damage to your nerves, salivary glands, and ducts. We perform a thorough examination to determine the extent of your injuries and offer comprehensive treatments to repair the damage.

Oral health

Even if you’ve only lost a tooth or two and haven’t sustained any other injuries, you may still be headed for some complications.

When you have a gap in your line of teeth, the remaining teeth eventually shift and drift into the open space, causing misalignment and inefficient or painful chewing.

The gap left behind by the missing tooth also opens the door to periodontitis. The increased surface area provides an ideal environment for bacteria to set up shop. 

Finally, a missing tooth may lead to bone loss in your jaw. The bone cells in your jaw rely on the pressure from your teeth and the chewing function to stimulate growth. Without it, that section of your jawbone atrophies and weakens. 

Overall health

Although a missing tooth in and of itself doesn’t directly affect your overall health, it can trigger a chain of events that affects your well-being. Specifically, studies show that gum disease, which can be a consequence of lost teeth, is linked to heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cerebrovascular disease. 

What’s more, missing teeth often make it difficult to eat certain foods, leading to dietary changes that may result in health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. Inefficient chewing may also trigger digestive problems.

Treatments for a knocked-out tooth

To avoid these missing-tooth-related health problems, it’s best to save or replace the tooth. When possible, we restore your original tooth by replanting it into its socket, ensuring first that the environment is sterile and prepped to receive it. 

If it’s not possible to save your tooth, a dental implant is the next best thing. Whether you’ve lost one or several teeth, dental implants stand in as excellent replicas that look and function just as natural teeth do.

To find out if you’ve sustained oral or facial damage when you knocked out your tooth, or to find out if you’re a candidate for a dental implant, request an appointment online or call our friendly staff today.

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