When you knock a tooth out, you have a limited amount of time to get to a dentist. An avulsed (knocked out) tooth can't last much longer than an hour when out of its socket. This is because the cells on the tooth's root dry out and die when exposed to the air. You can give your tooth a little more time by putting it in milk or water, but you still only have an hour to put it back in your mouth.
An avulsed tooth is a dental emergency because if you react too late, the ligaments on the tooth root will die. This will make reattaching the tooth impossible. But you still have other options available to you.
A Flipper is a Short-Term Fix
Flippers usually consist of an acrylic base that has one or more teeth on it. If your dentist cannot replace your avulsed tooth, then this is a fast way to replace the tooth. Most patients choose this option when they need a quick replacement. Flippers are especially useful if you have lost a tooth in the smile zone.
Some dental clinics can make flippers in one visit, while some need two visits to complete a flipper.
A Partial Denture Is Longer Term
It also takes about two visits for a dentist to make a partial denture. But partial dentures are sturdier than flippers because they usually have metal as part of the acrylic base and so last longer than flippers do.
A Dental Bridge isn't Removable
Like the other two options, a dental bridge usually requires two visits to prepare. But unlike the other options, the teeth on either side of your lost tooth will need to play some part in the treatment. This is because the replacement tooth requires the support of either one or both of the adjacent teeth.
You can opt for a Maryland bridge, which only requires the support of one adjacent tooth if you'd like to conserve your natural teeth.
A Dental Implant Takes Much Longer to Prepare
This option works well with a partial denture because it takes several months for the titanium implant to heal in your mouth once placed into the bone. The partial denture can serve as a temporary replacement while you wait for the titanium post to heal. Once healed, your dentist can then add the crown, which will fully restore your smile.
If you have lost a tooth in an accident, book an emergency dental appointment. If you get to a dentist quickly, they might be able to replace the tooth. Otherwise, one of the aforementioned options will ensure that you don't walk around with a gap in your smile.
For more information, reach out to an emergency dentist.