If you have been in a major accident where your tooth or teeth were injured, you may have suffered a broken or avulsed–completely knocked out–tooth. Often an avulsed tooth can be saved, and even a severely damaged tooth can be repaired.
What Is the Injury?
On initial inspection, it can be hard to tell whether the tooth was broken off at the gum line or knocked out completely. In either case, there may be a lot of blood. The best way to tell what happened to the tooth is to find the tooth. If a tooth has the full tooth shape: flattish with cusps on the top, tapered on the bottom, it was likely knocked out completely. Although molars have multiple roots, front teeth typically just have one root.
If the tooth is flat or irregular on the bottom, it was broken off.
Preserving the Tooth
Whether the tooth is broken or avulsed, it’s best to try to preserve it and get to the dentist right away. If possible, place the tooth back in the mouth where it belongs. This will help keep it alive until you can get to the dentist. If you can’t get it back in place, place it between the gums and cheek to keep it warm and safe. If can also be carried in a container of milk or saliva.
Never wash the tooth off with anything other than saliva, water, or milk, especially with peroxide or an antibiotic solution. It’s best to do as little as possible to the tooth before seeing the dentist. Touch only the top of the tooth, the crown or enamel.
Repairing the Tooth
If an avulsed tooth is back in the socket, it may just heal. We will evaluate it and usually place a stabilizing splint, kind of like a tooth cast, though it looks more like braces. If the tooth doesn’t heal properly, it may be necessary to replace it with a dental implant.
A broken tooth usually can’t be glued back in place, but if the root is strong it might be able to be restored. If there is enough of the tooth left, we may try to place a dental crown on top of the root. Likely, a root canal will have to be done first.
Repairing Old Repairs
Sometimes people have old repairs that were done with the first available dentist in an emergency situation that they no longer like. If you have old restorations that you think are unattractive, either because they were done poorly to begin with or because they have aged poorly, we can help. Cosmetic renewal of old restorations can be done quickly and effectively to give you a beautiful smile again.
To learn more about getting the most attractive repair for broken or knocked out teeth, please call