Why have a National Facial Protection Awareness Month you ask?
Early on in my training as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, I saw many people who sustained facial injuries which were preventable or could have been less severe. Simply wearing a helmet and/or a mouth guard can save you and your loved ones pain, suffering, and long term disfigurement. This month our blog will focus on what you can do to protect you and your family from serious injury.
“My tooth was knocked out!”
“What do I do?”
An avulsed (when a tooth comes completely out of the socket) permanent tooth is a serious situation, but it may be resolved if you act quickly and calmly. It occurs most commonly after some form of facial trauma..
“What should I do?”
SEEK IMMEDIATE ATTENTION!
– If there are other injuries, call 911
– Call your local Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
– If the event happens after hours, you should report to the nearest Emergency Room
Depending on the situation, a tooth that has just fallen out and that has maintained its structure without any major fracture can possibly be replanted. Therefore, quick action is key!
“What are the steps I should follow to save the tooth/teeth?”
You will want to be careful handling the tooth to give yourself the best chance of saving it. Do your best to follow these steps:
- Locate the tooth and pick it up by the crown, NOT the root.
- Rinse off the tooth with milk, saliva, or salt water – DO NOT wipe or dry it at the risk of damaging it.
- Keep the tooth moist with cold milk or saliva.
First, try to place the tooth gently back into its socket as quickly as possible. To hold the tooth in position and minimize bleeding, gently bite on clean gauze, a wet tea bag or a wad of cloth. Then, seek dental or medical help immediately. (This is the best chance of success in saving your tooth).
If placing the tooth back into the socket is impossible, put the tooth in a glass of cold milk or in the patient’s mouth between their cheek and gums to keep it moist with their own saliva (careful not to swallow the tooth). This will help keep the tooth alive, giving you time to seek immediate attention. Storing the tooth in tap water or letting the tooth dry out may kill the tooth and jeopardize its survival.
“What if my tooth cannot be saved?”
Sadly, in some cases, your tooth may not be able to be saved. In this instance, your dentist will likely recommend that you receive a dental implant in order to replace the tooth and to prevent issues, such as gum and bone loss, from occurring. These dental implants look just like your natural teeth and will act as a replacement for your tooth’s root as well.
“How can I prevent something like this from happening to me?”
April is National Facial Protection Month! Accidents like this can happen to any of us. However, if athletic activities are a big part of your life, taking precautions can prevent a tooth from being knocked out (avulsed). When participating in contact sports or any other physical, athletic activities, be sure to wear a professional mouth guard to protect your teeth at all times. Helmets not only protect your head but can protect the face and teeth during sporting activities such as biking, skiing, skateboarding, etc. Also, keeping your teeth healthy and strong is a key preventative. Maintaining a good routine in regards to your oral hygiene is necessary to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and potential tooth loss.
Dr. Joshua Foxson
Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Naperville Oral Surgery
605 South Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540