Tooth Replant 1

Tooth Replant

There are many reasons why the loss of a permanent tooth is highly undesirable, not the least of which are the cosmetic and structural effects caused by the resultant gap in the mouth. Not only do we find it unsightly to have obvious missing teeth, but other teeth in our mouth can move into strange positions in order to fill a gap left by a missing tooth, which can change and even collapse the basic structure of the mouth. It is for this reason that several restorative dental treatments exist to replace a lost tooth. Many of these treatments address issues where the tooth was unhealthy and had to be removed from the mouth and then replaced, however there are also some limited instances where a tooth is actually healthy but is accidentally knocked or torn out of its socket. In these cases, tooth replantation may be the best option.

Why Tooth Replantation?

The National Center for Health Statistics has indicated that roughly five million teeth are accidentally knocked or torn out of mouths each and every year due to trauma–most often through sports accidents but also sometimes through motor vehicle accidents, criminal assaults and fist fights. Tooth replantation can be attempted on permanent teeth, often with great success, but is not usually attempted on baby teeth as their roots are not long enough and they will eventually leave the mouth anyway. That said, some dentists do occasionally make exceptions and replant baby teeth–usually when this can have a beneficial effect on the permanent tooth that has yet to emerge below it.

Where tooth replantation is possible and successful it both prevents the permanent loss of the tooth and helps to restore the basic structure and function of the mouth so that the individual can continue to speak and eat normally. However, a tooth that has been knocked out of the mouth must be carefully preserved and taken to the dentist within thirty minutes in order to be successfully replanted. The tooth should never be touched by the root, only by the crown, and while it should be rinsed and kept moist it should not be thoroughly cleaned or brushed as this can remove the important connective tissue on the root that will be needed to ensure successful replantation. Tooth replantation occurs through the following process:

  • Thorough examination of the tooth and mouth. Your dentist will want to assess the condition of the lost tooth and the mouth to ensure that there are no obvious dental issues that may prevent a successful replantation. Any injuries to the gum will be addressed prior to tooth replantation.
  • Administration of local anesthetic. The gums around the replantation site are numbed in order to make the treatment more comfortable for the patient.
  • Reinsertion of tooth. Your doctor will reinsert the tooth into its socket, and then anchor it into position with a wire splint. This splint will remain in place for anywhere between two to six weeks, after which time your dentist will determine whether the tooth is stable and the splint can be removed.

Taking Care of a Replanted Tooth

Your dentist will provide specific and important aftercare instructions to help you better stabilize a replanted tooth. It is important to follow their instructions carefully, eating only soft food for several days, and avoiding rinsing the mouth, spitting or smoking for at least twenty-four hours immediately following treatment. After this period, you may be asked to gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every one to two hours in order to help reduce soft tissue swelling. It is important to remain in close communication with your dentist while the replanted tooth heals, as you will want to ensure that there is no tooth rejection or infection issues.

Many tooth replantations can be successful if they occur rapidly, the tooth is undamaged and the individual is in good oral health. As always, you should talk with your dentist if you have any questions about this or other restorative dental treatments.


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