An avulsed tooth means it has fallen out — or been knocked out — completely. Even though it has been separated from your mouth, the tooth can still be saved if you act quickly. Try not to touch the root part of the tooth when you pick it up, and use only water to rinse it off if it is dirty. You must see a dentist immediately to try and put it back into its socket. Until that time, the more moist you can keep the tooth (i.e. by keeping it in a glass of water or milk with a pinch of salt), the better your chances will be of saving the tooth. Otherwise, if the tooth becomes infected or dies, an artificial tooth will probably have to replace it.

If, however, your dentist was able to salvage your real tooth and put it back into your socket, and design a splint to hold it in place for a while as it heals and re-stabilizes in your mouth. A root canal may be required to avoid or eliminate infection. The length of time the tooth was out of your mouth and the way the tooth was preserved will influence the decisions made on how your treatment will be carried out.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

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