What to Do When You Lose a Permanent Tooth

what to do when you lose a tooth - man holding jaw

What to Do When You Lose a Permanent Tooth

Losing a tooth as an adult can be a frightening experience. But if you remain calm and act quickly, you have a chance of saving the tooth. Follow these tips on what to do when you lose a permanent tooth so you can preserve your natural smile. 

What Happens If You Lose an Adult Tooth?

If you lose an adult tooth, time is of the essence. Your dentist may be able to reimplant the tooth if you can see them within the hour. If you are not able to save or reimplant the tooth, you will need to get the tooth replaced as soon as possible with partial dentures, a bridge, or a dental implant. 

The spaces left by missing teeth can cause problems, including:

  • Teeth shifting to fill the empty space
  • Bite misalignment as a result of shifting
  • Jawbone deterioration due to a lack of stimulation from the tooth root

What to Do When You Lose a Permanent Tooth

1: Find the Tooth

The first thing to do when you lose your adult tooth is to locate it. Pick up the tooth so it doesn’t get lost or stepped on, but make sure to only handle it by the crown (the part that normally sticks out of your gums). The soft tissues of the tooth root can easily be damaged when touched.

2: Stop the Bleeding

Next, you need to give yourself first aid. If there’s blood, you can stop the bleeding by gently applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or clean paper towel. 

3: Rinse the Tooth

Once the bleeding is under control, and you have the tooth, you need to gently rinse the tooth with water. Avoid using soap, and do not rub or brush the tooth—this only causes more damage. 

4: Protect the Tooth

Finally, it’s time to preserve the tooth. It may be your first instinct to wrap the tooth up, but doing so can damage the root, and the tooth also needs to stay moist. The best way to protect the tooth after rinsing it is to place it back in the empty socket in your mouth. Firmly, but gently hold the tooth in place until you get to the dentist.

If you cannot place the tooth back in your mouth, store it in a clean container filled with milk or a saline solution. Milk or saline can help preserve the tooth, whereas water—especially tap water—can damage the tooth root. 

5: Contact Your Dentist ASAP

It’s vital that you contact your dentist immediately after a permanent tooth falls out. The sooner you can see your dentist, the better your chances for reimplantation. Even if you’re unable to find the tooth, or you believe it can’t be saved, you still need to visit your dentist quickly to treat the empty socket and discuss tooth replacement options. 

Why Do Adult Teeth Fall Out?

Unlike baby teeth, adult teeth are not meant to fall out. Unless they get knocked out by an injury, a lost permanent tooth is usually the sign of a serious dental problem like advanced tooth decay or gum disease

Tooth loss is more common in older adults because they are more vulnerable to dry mouth and other conditions that negatively affect teeth. Eating a diet high in sugar and starch and failing to brush and floss your teeth every day are two other common factors that allow tooth decay and gum disease to get out of hand. 

Emergency Dentist in Sun Lakes, Arizona

If you ever lose a permanent tooth, please don’t hesitate to contact us. At Dr. Saba and Associates, we can treat the damage and restore your smile. We can also help you avoid further tooth loss from decay and gum disease with our many preventative services. Give us a call at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/24/2023). Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels