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That Tooth Can Be Saved

Acting quickly can salvage it once it's been knocked out

FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- If you're unlucky enough to have a tooth knocked out while playing sports or because of an accident, you may still be able to save it.

If the tooth is knocked out of its socket, but not broken, it's possible that a dentist or doctor can reimplant the tooth if you act quickly, says an article in the January issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

Here's some advice on what you can do to increase the chances of successful tooth reimplantation:

  • Don't touch the root of the tooth. You may damage the ligament.
  • Remove dirt and debris by rinsing the tooth in a container of clean water. Don't rub or scrape the tooth.
  • Try to replace the tooth in its socket and bite down gently on gauze or a moistened tea bag to keep it in place. If you can't replace the tooth in its socket, put it in milk, your own saliva, warm salt water or between your gum and cheek.
  • Head straight for the dentist or emergency room. There's a better chance of successful reimplantation if the tooth is back in its socket within 30 minutes.

Even if the tooth is successfully reimplanted, tissue inside the tooth eventually dies. A root canal will be necessary to keep the tooth functioning properly.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about dental injuries and emergencies.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Jan. 6, 2004
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