Rebuilding Your Smile When You Lose a Front Tooth

Dental avulsion is the clinical term for a knocked-out tooth. It’s commonly caused by maxillofacial trauma from sports activities, car crashes, or falls. Avulsion is particularly devastating when it happens to a front tooth. If you take action right away, a dentist in Everett, WA, might be able to save your natural tooth. Otherwise, you can consider other restoration options, such as a dental implant procedure .

If you can get to the clinic within an hour of the accident, your dentist may be able to save your natural tooth with a process called replantation. After cleaning the socket and the tooth, your dentist can insert the tooth back into place and install a tooth splint to hold it securely. If the replantation attempt is successful, the root of the tooth should reattach to the jawbone within a matter of weeks. You can improve the chances of successful replantation by taking the following steps immediately after the avulsion:

  • Pick up the tooth by the crown—never touch the root.
  • Rinse off the tooth if it’s dirty, but do not scrub the root.
  • Place the tooth in a cup of milk.
  • If no milk is available, keep the tooth inside your mouth—between your molars and cheek—until you get to the dentist’s office.

Dental Implant
If it’s not possible to replant an avulsed tooth, or if you lost the tooth due to an infection, then a dental implant is the next best option. During a dental implant procedure, a small hole is drilled into the jawbone to make room for a synthetic version of a tooth root. Once this implant is positioned, the area is left to heal. Later, the dentist can place a custom-made crown on top that mimics the look and function of a natural front tooth.

Partial Denture
A partial denture is designed to replace one or multiple missing teeth. This can be a good option for people who are not candidates for implant surgery. A partial denture isn’t fixed in place, however, and it requires some extra care. Some patients with avulsed front teeth may decide to get a partial denture for the time being, with the intention of replacing it with a dental implant later on.

FAQs about Maintaining Good Oral Health

Your oral health is precious. If you take good care of your teeth, they should last you a lifetime. Unfortunately, plenty of people struggle with oral health issues. This is reflected in the high rates of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss among Americans. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral care routine, you should discuss them during your dentist appointment in Everett, WA.

What can I do if I have trouble using a toothbrush?
Some patients aren’t able to comfortably hold and maneuver a toothbrush, perhaps because of arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. If brushing your teeth is a challenge, your dentist can help you find a solution. A lightweight electric toothbrush is a good option for many patients with limited dexterity. Consider looking for a model that features a pressure sensor, which lets you know if you’re brushing too hard.

What about flossing problems?
If holding a normal toothbrush is challenging for you, then you probably also have problems with floss. You can use a water flosser to remove much of the food debris and plaque that can accumulate around your teeth. Your dentist might also recommend using a disposable flosser device with a handle to make sure you remove all of the plaque between your teeth.

Is mouthwash necessary?
Most dentists do recommend that their patients use alcohol-free mouthwash that carries the ADA seal of approval. Therapeutic mouthwashes guard against tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Mouthwash is never a substitute for thorough brushing and flossing, but it can be a helpful addition to your oral care routine. Your dentist might recommend a particular type of therapeutic mouthwash. Otherwise, look for one that contains fluoride. Follow the directions on the label for optimal results. It will probably instruct you to swish for one minute, spit, and avoid eating and drinking for at least 30 minutes afterward. This waiting period allows the fluoride to get to work remineralizing your tooth enamel.

How often do I need a dental checkup?
The standard recommendation is to schedule one every six months. If you have a tendency to develop tooth decay or gum disease, or if you are at a high risk of oral cancer, your dentist may recommend stopping by the office more frequently. Regular dental visits are essential, and can’t be replaced by taking good care of your teeth and gums at home. During your visit, the dental hygienist will remove hardened tartar that can’t be removed with a toothbrush and floss. Routine checkups also allow your dentist to identify and treat oral health problems as soon as possible.