Save That Knocked Out Tooth

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year in children and adults. The best way to prevent this is to wear a mouth guard.

Since accidents do happen, the American Association of Endodontists recommends the steps below to give you the best chance of saving your tooth.

A tooth that has been knocked out of its socket will start to die within 15 minutes. With proper emergency action, though, a tooth that has been knocked out can be successfully replanted and last for years.

Quick action will increase the likelihood of saving the tooth. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Pick up tooth by the crown (the chewing surface) NOT the root.

Locate the tooth immediately — do not leave it at the site of the accident — and handled it carefully.

Touch only the crown (the part that you chew food with) to minimize the injury to the root of the tooth.

2. If the tooth is dirty, gently rinse it with water.
  • Do not use soap or chemicals.
  • Do not scrub the tooth.
  • Do not dry the tooth.
  • Do not wrap the tooth in a tissue or cloth.
  • Do not put it in your pocket.

All of these actions could further injure the root of the tooth.

3. Reposition the tooth in the socket immediately, if possible.

The sooner the tooth is replaced, the greater the likelihood it will survive.

It may not be possible to do this, because of the nature of the injury or the age of the person who lost the tooth.

To reinsert the tooth, carefully push it back into the socket with your fingers, or position it above the socket and close the mouth slowly.

Hold the tooth in place with your fingers or by gently biting down on it.

4. Keep the tooth moist at all times.

The tooth must not be allowed to dry. If it cannot be replaced in the socket, put it in one of the following:

  • Emergency tooth preservation kit (such as Save-a-Tooth®)
  • Milk
  • Mouth (next to cheek)

Regular tap water is not recommended for long-term storage because the root surface cells do not tolerate water for long periods of time.

5. See an endodontist or the nearest available dentist ASAP.

Bring the tooth (and the patient!) to a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible — ideally, this should happen within 30 minutes.

If you cannot make it to a dentist in 30 minutes, don’t give up. It may be possible to save the tooth even if it has been outside of the mouth for an hour or more.

Just get there as soon as you can. Emergency tooth preservation kits, if you use one, can dramatically improve your chances of saving the tooth, even if you can’t make it to a dental office in 30 minutes.

Use Your Flexible Spending for Dental Care

Did you know 44% of dental care expenses are paid out-of-pocket?

YIKES! That can add up quickly!

A Flexible Spending account could help you reduce your out-of-pocket dental costs because it lets you pay for medical expenses that your insurance plan doesn’t cover with pre-tax dollars.

For dental visits this includes any expenses that you might have for crowns, bridges, implants, X-rays, cleanings, visits, fillings, extractions, occlusions, gum treatments, oral surgery, orthodontics, or TMJ related treatments.

So, if you find yourself paying for things like co-pays, deductibles, or medications you might end up paying less with pre-tax dollars that you’ve set aside in your Flexible Spending account.

Talk with your accountant to determine if a Flexible Spending account makes sense for your financial situation, and if your employer offers Flexible Spending plans, or if you already have one, be sure you’re thinking about your dental care when you planning your contribution amounts.

Include all (or most) of your expected dental expenses into your deductions, and not only will you have something more to smile about next year, but you’ll be smiling your best when you take your dental costs into account, too!

You Are What You Eat!

You are what you eat or at least your teeth are!

What you eat can help fend off plaque, periodontal disease and gingivitis. You can keep your gums healthy and your teeth strong with fortifying foods, like those listed below.

Cheese:

According to a study by the American General Dentistry, cheese actually protects your teeth from the acid erosion caused by tea, coffee, wine, soda, and other sugary foods and beverages.

Your mouth naturally has a slightly acidic (low) pH, and when you eat or drink things that drive that pH level even lower, your tooth enamel suffers.

While saliva acts as a neutralizing agent and restores pH levels in the mouth after you eat, some foods actually assist in the pH-boosting process.

Cheese, especially Cheddar cheese, elevates your oral pH for 30 minutes after eating. And the calcium and phosphorous found in cheese is healthy for your teeth – it helps re-mineralizes (harden) the enamel.

Water:

Turns out that your teeth actually benefit from water.

Water helps wash away food debris and keeps your saliva levels high.

Believe it or not, saliva is actually your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay because it contains proteins and minerals that counteract enamel–eating acids.

And saliva is made up of 95 percent water, so if you want to avoid unnecessary cavities, stay hydrated.

Oranges:

This may come as a surprise, but citrus fruits like oranges help keep your gums healthy by strengthening blood vessels and the connective tissue that holds your teeth in your jaw.

It’s the vitamin C that’s so powerful.

Vitamin C also helps reduce inflammation, which may preven or slow the progression of gingivitis.

Keep your teeth – make oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus regular features in your fruit bowl!

Like oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries are brimming with gum–building vitamin C.

Vitamin C is required for production of collagen, a key protein that maintains your gums’ strength and integrity — and strong gums are an integral part of your oral health.

Just a half a cup of fresh strawberries delivers more than 70 percent of the daily value for vitamin C!

Wild Salmon:

Fatty fish like salmon and Atlantic mackerel are good food sources of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is critical for oral health since it allows your body to absorb and use calcium, a nutrient that protects your teeth and gums from disease.

The vitamin D found in salmon makes it easier for your teeth and bones to get the full power of calcium from the foods you’re eating.