Losing a tooth as an adult is nowhere near as fun as losing a tooth as a child. Firstly, you don’t receive any money for the inconvenience, and secondly, there is no hope of it growing back. As a result, the reaction of most adults upon losing a tooth is to panic.
Luckily, losing a tooth is not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at the time. As long as you are calm and careful in the aftermath of losing your tooth, and you get to a dentist or emergency room swiftly and with your lost tooth intact, there is hope for you yet.
How Do You Lose a Tooth?
There are many reasons you might find yourself with a tooth that has made a bid for freedom, and they are more numerous than you might think. Some of the reasons include:
Trauma: whether it’s due to falling over on the pavement or having someone else’s knee connect with your face during a game of football, trauma is a common cause for lost teeth. If the tooth comes out whole, try to preserve it as best as possible. If the tooth is severely cracked during the injury, it could be irreparable.
Decay: unfortunately, decay sometimes burrows too deeply into our teeth to be solved. While smaller cavities created by decay can be repaired with fillings or crowns, deeper decay has the ability to damage the structure of your teeth to the point where it no longer functions. At this point, you dentist may recommend removing the tooth.
Poor care: bacteria that has collected under your gum line can often grow until it separates your tooth from your gums. As a result of this, your tooth can be destabilised so much so that it falls out on its own or must be removed to prevent further damage.
Oral disease: diseases and illnesses such as oral cancer can disrupt your tooth or the bone structure in your mouth, resulting in the loss of teeth.
What Do I Do With a Lost Tooth?
When you lose a tooth, it is vital to have it replaced as soon as possible – whether it is the original tooth or a prosthetic replacement. If the gap is left to its own devices, the surrounding teeth and gums may be compromised and left vulnerable to disease and cavities. It could also cause your bone structure to change, and prompt your remaining teeth to crowd together to fill the space left behind.
The first step after losing a tooth is to ensure that you handle the tooth that has been knocked out with care. Avoid touching the soft root at all costs, as this may cause damage to the nerves and tissues, making it harder or impossible for your tooth to be repaired. Rinse it gently in water before preserving it in either saliva, whole milk, or sterile saline solution. Do not attempt to soak the tooth in water, as it will not preserve the tooth as well.
It is recommended that you attempt to replace the tooth in its socket after it has been sterilised, as this helps the dentist the re-implant the tooth, and keeps the root of the tooth healthy. Place the tooth in the right position and bite down gently on gauze or a washcloth, but don’t force it. If it doesn’t fit, keep it preserved.
As soon as you can, make an appointment with your dentist. The longer you wait before receiving dental care, the harder it will be to re-implant the tooth and the more risk there is of having the socket become infected. If you cannot make a same-day appointment at your local dentist, visit an emergency room instead.
How Can I Protect My Teeth?
Lost teeth can be the result of neglect, accident, or illness, but there are ways you can protect the health of your teeth. To avoid decay and cavities, ensure you brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups. If you play sport, make sure to always protect your teeth and mouth with mouth guards, which can be bought from stores or be custom made by your dentist.
For more information on protecting your teeth and maintaining a healthy smile, contact us today.