Tooth Avulsion


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Tooth avulsion is the medical way of saying that a tooth has fallen out.  This might be due to trauma or decay although the former is the most common.  Your teeth are held in place by a ligament called the periodontal ligament, and if it should become severed from this then you will need to see a dentist as soon as possible. 

What to do?

The first thing that must be done is that the tooth should be placed back into the socket after it has been thoroughly cleaned.  If you aren’t comfortable doing this then store it in milk, saliva or, if neither are available, clean water, until you can see a dentist.  You ought not to touch the root of the tooth but instead handle it by the top or crown.

If the tooth lost is a primary tooth then it should not be replaced and the socket will be left vacant until the permanent tooth grows through.

It is imperative that you seek immediate dental advise as soon as possible in order to get the best possible chance of having your complete tooth restored.  Within an hour the periodontal ligament can start to die. 

If the tooth is still developing or the root is as yet not completely developed then the prognosis is generally good. 

Problems that could arise due to Tooth Avulsion

It is possible that even if the tooth is replaced as soon as possible there may be some continuous problems with the tooth or the surrounding area.  This can include:

  • Changes in tooth colour
  • Abcesses
  • Roots growing in strange directions
  • Rejection of the roots
  • Infection

In the case of primary teeth being lost, there could be resulting difficulties with the permanent tooth growing through. 

Tooth Avulsion Treatment

The best candidate for a complete recovery with no complications from a fallen out tooth is someone who has teeth that are still developing or whose roots are not yet completely formed. 

  • If the tooth has been out of any liquid for less than 2 hours, or has been stored in saliva or milk, it can be replanted with no treatment beforehand.  If it has been dry for longer than this then it will have to be soaked in a solution for five to ten minutes before it can be replaced.
  • Your dentist might put a splint on the tooth, this looks a bit like a dental brace, in order to hold the tooth in place as it is healing.  This will have to be worn for 7 to 10 days or until the tooth is stable.
  • The tooth will have to be monitored for several weeks in order to assess the progress that it is making.  If your dentist is happy with the recovery then it will just take a while for your tooth to become stable within its socket once more.

You are likely to require a root canal treatment as the nerves are likely to have become damaged with the trauma imposed to the tooth. 

Tooth Avulsion Recovery

The length of time it will take to recover from Tooth Avulsion, is very much dependant on the damage done to the nerves, the periodontal ligament and the roots of the tooth.  Every case is different.

  • Throughout your recovery you will not be able to chew on the affected tooth and will have to maintain a high standard or oral hygiene. 
  • You will need to visit your dentist regularly in order to chart your progress and to ensure that you need no further treatments.
  • It is likely that you will require a root canal, you will also need to have the splint removed and the area examined 7 to 10 days after the tooth has been knocked out.

You will be given antibiotics to ward off infection, and might be required to have a tetanus injection.