Sports personalities are the first to know about the importance of protecting their teeth. They understand that having a winning smile is important to their health and career. A bad tackle or accident can lead to damaged teeth, time out from their sport, a visible change to their appearance and loss of earnings.
Even for those of us not in the public eye, a damaged tooth is not only painful but can shatter your confidence and takes a long time to heal. The recovery process is often not as simple as dropping into the dentist to get it fixed.
The price of losing a tooth
Everyone experiences tooth loss from a young age – memories of earning our first payment from the elusive tooth fairy paints a pleasant picture of the experience, although at least 15% of children damage front teeth before the age of 18. In adults, a huge array of incidents can damage or displace teeth resulting in anything from discomfort to severe pain.
Knowing who to call when an accident happens can save valuable time and gives you a better chance of saving the tooth. Talk with your dentist or find out what facilities your local hospital has in place.
If you play sports, ensure you have a properly fitted mouth-guard fitted accurately by your dentist (avoid purchasing over-the-counter mouth-guards).
What should you do if you chip a tooth?
Fractures can initially appear minor – as chipping or damage to the enamel (visible part of the tooth) but this can hide invisible cracks which can cause an abscess near the root of the tooth. You should see a dentist to assessed and x-rayed on the day of the accident.
What should you do if you displace a tooth?
An avulsed tooth (knocked out completely) must be re-implanted within 30-60 minutes. Microscopic analysis has shown that only 25% of cells that connect the root to the socket will survive the first hour – so timing is critical.
If your tooth is displaced
- Put the tooth in salty water, milk or your own saliva to protect the cells of the tooth. Do not leave a tooth in the mouth of a young child (retrieval may be delayed)
- Contact a dentist or hospital immediately and request to be seen within 30-60 minutes
- If there is any delay, it is essential for a dentist to secure an impression and make a temporary denture to avoid adjacent teeth from moving.
- A re-implanted tooth will always require root canal treatment to avoid an abscess.
- Ensure you get regular follow-ups with your dentist to ensure further treatment is provided swiftly.
ANY delay of treatment will increase the risk of tooth loss, discolouration and abscess formation. Immediate attention from a dentist is essential.
Are you looking for a second opinion?
Toby Talbot is offering the opportunity to discuss your dental problem on Mondays from 8am.
Add 07802 760780 to your mobile phone under “dental emergencies” so if you do ever have a problem you can speak to Toby without delay.