How to Save A Damaged Tooth | Renovo Endodontics Studio

How to Save a Damaged Tooth

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I was eight years old having an ice skating lesson when all of a sudden, my mother’s worst nightmare came true—her child was flying through the air, landed face-down, and resurfaced toothless. As a second-grader, my main thought was how ridiculous I was going to look with a missing front tooth, but my mother was more concerned about what to do with the tooth fragment she was now holding. Thankfully she rushed me to the dentist and my tooth was able to be saved. But if you were in that situation—or worse, if your own tooth got knocked out—would you know what to do?

Dental accidents are scary, but if you react quickly, you have a higher likelihood of being able to save your tooth. Whether your tooth is entirely avulsed (knocked out) or just partially broken, you should see your dentist or endodontist immediately—within the hour, if possible.

Some people believe that if you cannot recover the broken tooth or piece of tooth, the tooth is not worth saving. This is not true! As long as the roots of the tooth are still intact, you have options.


What to do if you damage your tooth:

  1. Be careful when handling the tooth. If the roots are exposed, do not touch them.
  2. Keep the tooth moist. The best way to do so is by slipping it back into its socket.
  3. If you are not able to replace the tooth into its socket without applying pressure, keep the tooth moist by placing it in Save-A-ToothTM solution, which you can purchase from most sports stores.
  4. If you don’t have access to Save-A-ToothTM solution, place the tooth in milk.
  5. Do NOT rinse the tooth or store it in water. This will hasten the demise of the tooth.

Besides the fact that an empty tooth socket can be painful to live with, there are many reasons to restore your natural tooth instead of extracting it. These include:

  1. A missing tooth may alter your smile. Because of the extra space in your mouth, your teeth may shift. This can change your bite alignment and require expensive orthodontics to correct.
  2. Root canal treatments are more cost-effective. After a root canal treatment your tooth can last a lifetime if you care for it properly. In comparison, dentures and bridges may need replacement after five to eight years, and while dental implants are designed as a permanent solution, placing them can be a timely and costly process.
  3. Root canal treatments are less painful than replacing the tooth. According to the American Association of Endodontists, “Thanks to modern techniques and effective anesthesia, patients who experience root canals are six times more likely to describe it as painless than patients who have a tooth extracted!”

Almost two decades after that fateful skating lesson, my front tooth is healthy and looking great. So if you find yourself in a dental emergency, don’t panic! Just keep your tooth safe and moist and see a dental professional right away.

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