How a Glass of Milk Can Save Your Tooth in a Dental Emergency

How a Glass of Milk Can Save Your Tooth in a Dental Emergency

A knocked-out tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies dentists have to manage every day. According to the American Association of Endodontists, more than five million teeth are knocked out every year. If you have a knocked-out tooth - either due to an accident or injury - it does not necessarily mean that it cannot be saved. Knowing what to do in the case of an emergency makes the difference between losing or saving a tooth. Fortunately, an avulsed tooth can be saved with proper emergency treatment. This article explains what you should do if you or a loved one has a knocked-out tooth and how to preserve it so your dentist can replant it back to its position.

Knocked-Out Teeth - What to do?

If your child knocks out a primary tooth, take them to the dentist as soon as possible. The American Dental Association recommends that you not try to put that tooth back into its socket as it may harm the underlying permanent tooth. 

Permanent Tooth 

If you accidentally have a knocked-out permanent tooth, you should follow these steps to preserve it so that it can be replanted back into the socket:

  • Hold the tooth by its crown, taking care not to touch the fibers attached to its root - as they can help your tooth get replanted into the socket. 
  • If the tooth is dirty, clean it by rinsing it with water, taking care not to damage the periodontal fibers attached to the root. 
  • Try gently inserting the tooth back into the socket. Press the tooth down until the crown is level with the adjacent teeth.  Do not use excessive force if you are unable to seat it properly. In this case, you should preserve the tooth while you wait for an emergency appointment with your dentist. 

Preserving a Knocked-out Tooth 

If you are unable to put a knocked-out tooth back to its position, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preserving it in the following media:

  1. Milk 

According to the International Association of Dental Traumatology and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, milk is one of the best media for storing and transporting the avulsed teeth. However, it must be kept in mind that the sooner you visit your transport, the higher are the chances of their successful replantation. Research has shown that milk has several favorable properties that help in preserving the tooth, such as a neutral pH (6.5 -7.2) and the presence of nutritional substances such as amino acids, vitamins, and carbohydrates - which help in the regrowth of the periodontal tissues within the socket - and help the tooth replant itself. Besides, milk is readily available and is inexpensive. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends placing the knocked-out tooth in a bag containing milk. Alternatively, you put the tooth in a jar filled with milk.

  1. Saliva 

If milk is not available, The American Association of Endodontists recommends preserving the tooth by keeping it moist with saliva inside your cheeks. Saliva is also one of the best preservative media for transporting knocked-out teeth. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only using this option for children above twelve years. You can ask your child to spit in a cup for younger children and then immerse the tooth inside it. 

  1. Wet Cloth 

Another alternative is to wrap the tooth in a wet cloth. 

How To Respond in a Dental Emergency

Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. What is more important is how you respond to emergency situations. More importantly, dental emergency situations like knocked-out teeth can be avoided by taking preventive measures, such as wearing a mouthguard during contact sports or wearing a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle. 

In the case of a knocked-out tooth, time is of the essence. Regardless of the preservative media you use, the American Dental Association says that you seek expert dental help within thirty minutes. However, it may be possible to save a tooth if it has been out of its socket, provided it has been preserved appropriately. If you suffer from a dental emergency contact our emergency dentists at Bell Road Dentistry as soon as possible!