Perhaps, you heard the odd idea that you should put your tooth in milk if it falls out. And maybe you thought “there’s no way!” Actually, there is a lot of truth behind it. It is not an old wives’ tale that was passed down with no real data. There is legitimate science behind why you can and should utilize milk in a dental emergency.
Due to the chemical makeup of milk, it works as an excellent preserver for a tooth that has been knocked out. When a tooth separates from its socket, it must stay moist. Otherwise, the likelihood of saving the tooth declines. Milk will allow the tooth to stay moist, but it also has vital proteins and sugars that make it a good choice in a dental emergency.
Milk contains casein proteins, calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that naturally protect teeth and fight against harmful bacteria. Unlike tap water, milk is mostly pH-neutral, which makes it a more ideal choice.
Are There Other Options for a Knocked-Out Tooth?
Yes, there are a couple of other ways that you can try to preserve your tooth in a dental emergency. The best way to transport your tooth to the dentist is actually in your mouth.
Your saliva is the safest and most efficient medium to keep your tooth moist and as healthy as possible during your trip to the dentist. In fact, if you are able, you should try to put your tooth back in its socket to protect the sensitive roots.
The portion of your tooth that lies in your gums consists of delicate nerve endings. These can easily sustain damage if handled incorrectly. For this reason, you should never actually touch the root of your tooth. Only hold it by the crown, the hard white part that sits above your gums.
Before attempting to place the tooth back in its socket, you should make sure that it is clean. You can do this by either licking it clean or gently running it under cool tap water. You should never use chemicals or hot water to clean your tooth. This will damage the roots and make it difficult to save. Naturally, you shouldn’t force your tooth back in its socket because you could damage both your tooth and gums.
If you can’t put your tooth back in its socket, you could always put your tooth in a cup or similar container and fill it with your saliva. Since saliva is a nearly perfect medium, you should utilize it as much as possible.
Should I Call My Dentist Right Away If My Tooth Falls Out?
In a dental emergency, time is of the essence. You have a narrow window of time in order to save your tooth. Generally, you must reach a dentist for emergency services within an hour from the moment your tooth falls out.
As long as you are within that window and handle your good properly, it is likely that your dentist will be able to reimplant your tooth. However, if your tooth is unable to be saved either from time or trauma, your dentist will be able to provide you with several options to fill the space in your teeth, including a dental implant, if you are a candidate.