A dislodged tooth is one that has been partially pushed out of or into its socket. This may also be called an extruded or luxated tooth. The tooth may appear to be falling out, but will still be connected to the jawbone. The tooth tends to waggle freely, but should not be manipulated.
The tooth may also appear to have gone further into the gum. This condition is usually very apparent and can be quite painful. If this happens to you, do not touch or attempt to remove the tooth. It is still possible to save your natural tooth.
You can use an over-the-counter analgesic or cold compress to manage pain and swelling until you are able to see your general dentist or Dr. Woodard. You can try to prevent dislodged teeth by wearing a mouth guard or other protection when playing contact sports or participating in rough physical activity.
Treatment for a Dislodged Tooth
A local anesthetic will be applied and the area will be cleaned. We will perform an examination to evaluate the status of the tooth. If it appears intact, we may attempt to reposition it in the socket. A series of x-rays will be performed to assess the damage to the tooth root and adjacent areas. If there is injury to the nerves or blood vessels, additional treatment may be required. We will determine if the injury is capable of healing on its own and recommend endodontic treatment as needed. If a child’s primary tooth is dislodged, we may forgo the root canal and recommend waiting for the permanent tooth to come in.
Further tests will be done to assess damage to the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth. If there is permanent damage to the root of the tooth, a root canal will be required. Any damage to your teeth can allow bacteria to get to the pulp in the center of your teeth. Performing a root canal on a dislodged tooth can help prevent painful abscesses and unsightly discoloration.
The tooth will also need to be temporarily attached to the adjacent teeth so that it retains this position. There are a number of ways that this is accomplished. A resin material may be applied to wire to bond the teeth together. Orthodontic brackets may be installed, allowing partial braces to keep the teeth connected. A synthetic cloth or metal mesh might be fused to the back of the teeth to hold their position. These measures are temporary and will be removed once treatment is complete. During this time, the tooth may not be fully stable in the socket, leaving it vulnerable to further injury.
You will need to wait seven to ten days for your tooth and gums to heal. During this time, the tooth may not be fully set in the socket, leaving it vulnerable to further injury. It is vital that you make a follow-up appointment to ensure that healing is progressing appropriately and no further treatment is needed.
Sometimes, the full extent of the damage is not apparent immediately after the incident. Even a tooth that appears relatively healthy may have underlying damage that requires treatment. We will run further tests to check for damage that was initially missed. Any measures being used to anchor the affected tooth to healthy teeth will be removed at this follow-up appointment.