What You Can Do
Sometimes a tooth is knocked loose or comes partway out of its socket because of an injury. Dentists call this an extruded tooth. If the tooth is not broken and its nerve and blood vessels are still attached, the tooth may be saved.
To save the tooth, you must see your dentist right away. Leave the tooth in your mouth even though it is partially out of the socket. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever or apply a cold pack or ice to relieve pain until you reach the dental office.
What Your Dentist Will Do
Your dentist will give you some local anesthetic and clean the area. Then, if the tooth is intact and there is no sign of severe periodontal disease in the bone around it, the dentist will guide the tooth back into the socket. An X-ray may be taken to ensure there is no root fracture.
The tooth needs to be secured in its original position by connecting it to the healthy teeth on either side. There are three ways to do this:
- Using a wire and bonding it with a composite resin material along the length of the wire
- Bonding an orthodontic bracket to each tooth and then connecting these brackets (braces) with a wire
- Using a synthetic cloth or metal mesh and bonding it to the back of the teeth involved
These materials will be left on for 7 to 10 days while the tooth heals in the socket.
It is critical to follow up with your dentist 7 to 10 days later. If the tooth's nerve or blood vessels were damaged, your dentist may want to do root canal treatment. This keeps the tooth from becoming discolored or developing an abscess, which is an infection. Your dentist will test in the next weeks and months to see whether the nerve was damaged. These tests are not always reliable right after a tooth is injured.
If the dentist decides that root canal treatment is needed, you may need to have the tooth crowned (capped) after the root canal. In some cases, it may not be possible to save the tooth. In this case, it will have to be removed. Your dentist will decide the best way to restore the space created by the missing tooth.
4/30/12© 2002- Aetna, Inc. All rights reserved.