Can a tooth be pulled out of its socket in the alveolar bone, and still be intact, without losing its integrity? The answer is yes; this is known as dental avulsion and can occur in both permanent and deciduous teeth.
Causes of dental avulsion
It is normally caused by some kind of trauma due to multiple causes (a knock, a fall, a stumble…,).
It occurs very frequently in children, especially between the ages of five and twelve. You can imagine the stress and nervousness it can cause for parents to see their child’s tooth fall out after knocking it.
What to do in the event of dental avulsion
- First and foremost: stay calm. This is a real emergency situation, so you must follow the recommendations in this article.
- Secondly, determine what type of tooth it is: if it is permanent, it can be repositioned. If it is temporary (or a baby tooth), it is better to wait for the permanent tooth to come in.
- Once located, make sure it is intact (it is very important to grasp it by the crown and avoid contact with the root to avoid damaging it).
- Soak in saline or other aqueous solution; cold milk is a good alternative.
- Then immediately take it to the dentist so that it can be reimplanted into the alveolar bone.
The reimplantation process
If the tooth can be replanted, it should be done as quickly as possible to ensure its survival. If it arrives properly protected in the aqueous solution, it can last up to four hours out of its natural place in the mouth, but you don’t want to risk it.
Once reimplanted, the tooth is splinted (i.e., it is bonded to the teeth on the sides to prevent movement). Stitches may also be necessary if gingival tissues are torn.
After the operation, you must attend the check-ups scheduled by the dentist at the dental surgery to ensure proper follow-up care.
Another important guideline to ensure that the avulsed tooth recovers as well as possible is proper dental hygiene. This is vital so that neither plaque nor food debris accumulates in the treated area.
What if only a piece of the tooth breaks off?
It is also common that a tooth, instead of being knocked out completely, breaks off on one of its sides (this is known as a chipped tooth).
In this case, the dentist will choose the most appropriate way to restore the broken tooth. The patient should visit the dentist as soon as possible, especially if they are experiencing severe pain as a result of the chip.
When it comes to repairing the chipped tooth, the specialist can choose from several methods. For small chips, this is usually done with a tooth-coloured composite filling. For larger chips, the following other methods are available:
- Endodontic treatment. When the chip is very large and affects almost the entire tooth, this treatment, commonly known as “killing the nerve”, is used. This technique consists of removing the vascular-nerve bundle inside the tooth. After the endodontic treatment, a reconstruction or a crown will be fitted.
- Dental veneers. These are shells that cover the front part of the teeth. They include a thicker part to replace the broken piece of dentine. They can be made of porcelain or composite.
- Tooth crown when it is a substantial piece of tooth, but is not the main part of the tooth. These crowns are specially designed to protect the damaged tooth, and can be made of metal, ceramic, porcelain…; the main thing is that they are resistant.
In short, in the event of an avulsion or any other type of dental breakage, whether yours or your child’s, the first thing you should do is keep calm and go to the dentist. At IGB we will give you a solution. We have dental clinics in Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig and Elche.