While losing a permanent tooth is a painful disaster, there is a possibility that an intact tooth can be saved. Doing so will require swift action by a knowledgeable patient, which is why we at Lehigh Valley Smiles are providing this guide.
The American Dental Association recommends liquids for cleaning lost teeth and containers for transporting them. First aid kits at sporting events and other places where dental disasters are likely to occur should be stocked with these. But in their absence, patients should rinse the lost tooth off with milk or saltwater and then place it back in the socket. (If they have access to gauze, they should bite on that to keep the tooth in place.) If the tooth cannot be reinserted or the patient is unsure which way it should face, it should be kept in the patient’s cheek. The next best thing is to keep it in a container with saltwater or milk, but the most important thing is to keep it clean and moist.
Teeth have the best chance of being saved if seen by a dentist within an hour of being knocked out. However, a lost tooth is not a life-threatening injury and should not take precedence over more serious wounds. Only permanent, natural teeth can be saved; prematurely lost baby teeth will be replaced with spacers to make room for the permanent teeth, and lost implants must be replaced.