What would you do if you have an accident or dental trauma and have found yourself with a missing front tooth? It’s important that you know your front tooth replacement options. First of all, call 911 — a knocked-out permanent tooth is a dental emergency. In many cases, a permanent tooth that is re-implanted within 30 minutes of being knocked out has the highest chance of a successful reimplantation.
Collect Teeth or Teeth Fragments
- Handle teeth carefully because damage may prevent re-implantation.
- Touch only the crown, the top part of the tooth. Do not touch the root of the tooth.
- Rinse the tooth gently in a bowl of lukewarm water for no more than 10 seconds only if there is dirt or foreign matter on it.
- Do not scrub, scrape, or use alcohol to remove dirt.
Re-Insert or Store Teeth
- Rinse mouth with warm water.
- If possible, reinsert permanent teeth into the correct sockets and have the person bite on a gauze pad to hold teeth in place.
- Control bleeding with sterile gauze or cloth.
- For pain and swelling, apply a cool compress. Encourage a child to suck on a frozen pop.
- For pain, take ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- For teeth that have been knocked out, see a dentist or go to an emergency room immediately. Take the teeth or teeth fragments with you.
- Even if the teeth have been successfully reinserted, you should see a dentist.
- For chipped or broken teeth, call a dentist.
If you’ve knocked out a front tooth and sought treatment right away, there may be a possibility to save the original tooth. In some cases, your dentist may try to place the tooth back into its original position, anchor it in place, and encourage you to avoid biting and give you other special instructions to allow the hard and soft tissue to heal back around the tooth. It’s important to note that this may not be an option for everyone, and it may also not be successful. Your dentist will ask you to come back for a check-up in a few days, and may tell you to contact them right away if you notice your tooth turning dark or black. If the original tooth can’t be healed successfully, there are a couple of other options available to you.
Dental Implant plus Crown
Dental Implants are the best possible replacement option for a missing front tooth. A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a missing tooth. While natural teeth consist of a crown and a root, implants comprise three elements…
- The biocompatible titanium implant, inserted directly into the bone
- The porcelain crown
- The abutment, the connecting device between the implant and crown
Implants are strong, and designed to fuse with surrounding bone (called osseointegration). Dental implants are designed to last for life. A crown is placed over the implant, and if the original tooth is available, an impression is made of that tooth, so that the crown will look and feel like your original tooth. However, a dental implant may not be possible right away, if healing from the dental trauma is necessary before implant placement. Also, there is an average healing period of about 3 months after implant surgery before a crown can be permanently placed. In some cases, you may be eligible to have an implant in a day, with a temporary crown placed over the implant. However, this may not be possible for a missing front tooth that bears a lot of weight and stress of biting and chewing.
A Temporary Fix While You Heal
An immediate removable denture, also known as a flipper, is an excellent interim measure to address the appearance of a missing tooth, while you heal and wait for the permanent crown. An immediate denture is not designed to last as long as a regular denture, but is designed to help get you through until your permanent tooth replacement is available.
Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridge
Another front tooth replacement option is a fixed bridge. Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants. Bridges can last quite a while and have a natural look and feel. However, if the adjacent teeth are healthy, a fixed bridge would require the “preparation” or shaving down, of those otherwise healthy teeth, which can potentially compromise their health in the long term, and those teeth may eventually require treatment or even replacement.
This type of bridge is not a common treatment option, but is available if the adjacent teeth are healthy. This type of bridge consists of the pontic or crown in the center, and is attached to unprepared teeth by “wings” which are bonded to the teeth. This option helps to preserve the health of adjacent teeth and looks and feels more natural than a denture, but is not as durable as a fixed bridge or a dental implant.
Removable Partial Denture
Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases. Depending on your needs, your dentist will design a partial denture for you. A partial denture may have a metal framework and clasps that connect to your teeth, or they can have other connectors that are more natural looking. In some cases, a removable partial denture is made to attach to your natural teeth with devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetic than clasps. A removable partial denture works the same way as the flipper described above, but is more durable and designed to last for years with good care.
We are here to help with all your dental needs. The loss of a front tooth can be an emotionally charged event. No matter what, we are here to make sure you have the best information and options available to take action and feel comfortable and confident in your smile.
Contact Us (859-689-1105) For More Information or to Make an Appointment!
About Tri-State Family Dentistry
Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.