Save That Tooth

What happens when your child’s tooth accidentally gets knocked out? All is not lost….
By Pam Dillon

My kid’s front tooth has an uncertain future. After years of full-on action in rough and tumble sports, his smile took a major hit while he was having fun on a front lawn one lovely summer day. It was an end-of season party for his lacrosse team and the kids were playing a game of touch football, with no equipment. Slam! His mouth connected with the ground, a shoulder or some other rock-solid body part.

He didn’t mention the pain – or the loose tooth – until later. He is lucky he has a full set of teeth. There was an ASAP visit to the dentist, plus X-rays. So far, the root of the tooth is alive and he got the go-ahead, eventually, for orthodontic work. (There was concern that any pressure on the tooth might kill the root and cause him to lose the tooth.) We have been told there’s still a chance he may lose that front tooth when he’s older.

It’s a familiar scenario. Just ask your family’s dentist. One eight-year-old I know lost her tooth due to a chance encounter with a metal sign post while she was running in a field. Argh.

However, just because a tooth comes out doesn’t mean it has to stay out. Fast action can make all the difference.
“If the knocked-out tooth is an adult (or permanent) tooth, your dentist may be able to put it back. You must act quickly. If the tooth is put back in place within 10 minutes, it has a fair chance of taking root again,” notes the Canadian Dental Association at www.cda-adc.ca. “After two hours, the chances are poor.

“If the tooth looks clean, put it back in its place (its socket). If this is not possible, or if there’s a chance that the tooth might be swallowed, put it in a container of cold milk. Go to your dentist, or to the nearest dentist, right away. If you get help within ten minutes, there is a fair chance that the tooth will take root again.”

There’s also something you can buy for the family first-aid kit. It’s called the Save-A-Tooth® system and it protects and preserves knocked-out teeth for 24 hours until a dentist can reimplant them. “Research has shown that when it is used within the first sixty minutes of the accident, 91 percent of knocked out teeth can be saved for life.”  Still, in any case –  the sooner you get to a dentist, the better. The Save-A-Tooth® was invented in 1987 by Dr. Paul Krasner, DDS, an endodontist and a professor at Temple University School of Dentistry.
Since the device is inexpensive, it could be a helpful addition to your cache of first-aid supplies in the house and in your family vehicles. For details, check www.saveatooth.com.

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