Losing a tooth is a common dental emergency, especially amongst the elderly. It is important that a dentist is seen as a priority as this can impact the health of all teeth that lie on the same arch.
If you still have the missing tooth
If you still have the tooth that has fallen out, it’s essential that you see an emergency dentist immediately; the sooner the tooth is re-implanted, the higher the chance of it being re-embedded in the gum. Before you see the dentist, please attempt the steps below:
- Trying not to touch the root, hold the tooth by the crown.
- Rinse the tooth with a saltwater solution or milk, and attempt to place the tooth back into its socket as soon as you can.
- When you’ve done this, bite down onto a wet tea bag or a piece of clean material (a handkerchief, for example). This will keep the tooth in place.
- If you are unable to do this, hold it between your gum and cheek until you are able to see the dentist. Alternatively, place the tooth in a container, covering it with a small amount of saliva or milk.
- When you get to see the emergency dentist, they will plan to re-implant the tooth as soon as possible. Preferably, teeth should be re-attached within an hour of being knocked out.
Your dentist will splint the missing tooth to the teeth next to it with either a thin piece of wire or clear plastic, so it can be held in place as it heals. Your dentist will advice you on how long this needs to be in place.
If the tooth is lost
If the tooth has been lost, it must be replaced as soon as possible. The following treatments are common ways to replace missing teeth:
- Dental implants: these are artificial roots attached permanently to the jawbone with the use of a titanium screw. Your dentist will drill into the jawbone to do this, and you will be administered with a local anaesthetic.
- Partial dentures: these are removable devices that are clipped onto the surrounding teeth using metal clasps.
- Dental bridges: a dental bridge is an artificial tooth that is fixed permanently to the teeth at either side of the gap left by the lost tooth. Dental cement is used to fix a bridge in place.
Not only do these procedures improve the aesthetics of your smile, they also improve the functionality of your teeth. If a lost tooth isn’t replaced, your dental health as a whole will suffer. The remaining teeth, without the support of the missing tooth, will have to handle much more pressure when biting.
If you have a missing tooth, please call 020 8748 9365 immediately to book an emergency appointment.
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