While an injury to your gums or teeth may not be life-threatening, dental emergencies should never be ignored. Ignoring a problem like a chipped tooth or a lost crown can lead to discomfort, pain, permanent damage, or the need for more extensive and costly treatment down the road.
When you're faced with a dental emergency, you can take the steps below until you're able to see your dentist.
When a permanent tooth has been knocked out, it's important to keep the tooth moist. If the tooth is allowed to dry out, it can't be saved. Handle the tooth with care; do not scrub the tooth, wrap it in tissue, or touch it anywhere but the crown to minimize damage. After retrieving and rinsing the tooth under running water, you can try to place it back in the gums. Don't try to force it in place, however. If the tooth can't be reinserted in the gums, you can store it in a container of milk or, if possible, a special tooth-preserving liquid like Save-a-Tooth.
The sooner you see your dentist, the greater the chances that the tooth can be saved. Your dentist may be able to restore the tooth back to the socket if you're treated within one hour.