July 15-21 is National Youth Sports Week, and we at All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach want to do our part to inform families about what to do in a dental emergency. It may be possible for us to save a permanent tooth that gets knocked out, but only if patients know the right protocol.
We use the term “dental avulsion” to describe when a tooth gets knocked out of its socket. Every first aid kit should contain one of the American Dental Association’s approved emergency tooth containers. The tooth should be lifted by its crown, not its root, rinsed in a saline solution, and placed in the container. If no container is available, the next best option is to place it back in its socket. If that’s too painful, the tooth may be held in the cheek or moved in a jar of milk or saltwater, but remember that open wounds on the face should take priority over saving a tooth.
It is important to note that only permanent teeth can be replanted. A replanted baby tooth could prevent its permanent counterpart from emerging later. If a baby tooth does get knocked out, we may recommend that an orthodontic spacer be used to keep the gap open until a permanent tooth emerges. If a tooth does prove too damaged to save, we can replace it with a partial denture or fixed crown, but if your children wear mouthguards, it is much less likely you will have to make that choice.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.