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A Guide to Partially Dislodged Tooth

The phrase ‘a partially dislodged tooth‘ sounds painful doesn’t it? Well that’s because it can be if it is not seen to almost immediately.

A partially dislodged tooth refers to a tooth that hasn’t been entirely knocked out. For example, if you have an accident whilst playing sport and your tooth is banged but isn’t completely knocked from its socket, this will be referred to as ‘partially dislodged’.

Generally speaking, there are two types of dislodged tooth. One such type is when a tooth is dislodged from the jawbone and feels loose to touch, the other is when the tooth is bashed further into the gum. The latter tends to look worse and in actual fact can be a little more painful. Both however, are classed as serious dental emergencies that will typically require urgent treatment – ideally within the hour of the incident occurring.

What do I do if I have a partially dislodged tooth?

If you suspect that you have injured yourself in this way, without hesitation you should contact your dentist immediately and demand an emergency appointment. Time really is of the essence in this instance because the sooner you get to see a dentist, the higher the chance that you will be able to have the tooth replanted successfully and without any complications.

Because the injury that you have sustained will more than likely be causing you intense pain, you will not be begrudged some kind of pain relief. Painkillers of some sort can be taken and, because you may experience swelling to the jaw and face, an ice-pack may be required while you are on your way to see the dentist.

Even though the tooth may be causing you extreme discomfort, you really should resist the temptation to pull it out. This is never recommended. Instead, be patient and keep the tooth in place until you get to the practice.

How will I be treated?

It is important that you are analysed thoroughly; this way the dentist can see what the best course of action is. Initially, the dentist will check to see the state of the tooth and will check to see if the tooth’s nerves and blood supply are connected as they should be. If they are, the dentist will more than likely get on with restoring the tooth back to its former glory. If the nerves and blood supply are still fine, the dentist will always opt to save the tooth. It will be repaired and replanted whilst you are there and you will find this is a relatively straight forward procedure.

The dentist will start by cleaning the tooth and surrounding area in preparation for the work to be carried out. It is important that before any work commences that the area is thoroughly cleaned out and all debris removed so that no infection can enter. After this, the tooth will then be placed back into its socket and held down with a support that keeps it in place. The support will have to remain in place until the gums heal around the tooth again and the tooth is solid. If the support, normally a splint, is taken out too soon, the tooth won’t be properly stable and won’t be in line with the rest of the teeth; this could cause pain further down the line and will most definitely have an impact on your bite.

This procedure, as mentioned before, is relatively straight forward and can be completed in a very short space of time. You should note however, that if you have a tooth repaired and replanted, you should stick to attending regular dental appointments, and always brush and floss regularly and generally practise good oral habits. The reason for this is that after repair work a tooth may be more prone to infections as it may still be weaker than other teeth. Visits to the dentist should be frequent so that the stability of the tooth can be closely monitored.

But what about if you have the misfortune of having a tooth that has been so badly damaged that it is no longer connected to its nerve supply? If this proves to be the case, you shouldn’t panic; all is not lost and there is a very common procedure that can be undertaken that many of you will have heard of – root canal treatment. Even though canal treatment isn’t met with the greatest of enthusiasm, it is a procedure that aids the recovery of many a dental emergency.

Root canal treatment, in this instance, is necessary because even though the blood and nerve supply has been affected, the tooth will still be protected from infection.

The worst case scenario however, proves to be if the tooth is so severely damaged from the incident that it cannot be saved by root canal work. If this is the case, the tooth will simply have to be extracted. It is never ideal to extract a tooth as it can affect other surrounding teeth as well as how you talk and eat. It also puts additional pressure on the jaw.

Mouthguards

Because partially dislodged teeth normally occur as a result of a sporting injury, it is advised that you wear a mouthguard if you partake in sports where there is a high risk of injury. It should also be noted that people who regularly attend check ups and exercise good oral hygiene have extremely strong and tough gums which make it difficult for teeth to be dislodged in the first place. With this in mind, if you want to lower the chances of ever experiencing a situation where your teeth become dislodged, you should maintain your teeth and gums as best you can.