Thought You Saved That Tooth? You May Have to Think Again

If you had a tooth knocked out as a result of a childhood accident, you might think that a quick visit to the emergency room or dentist allowed the tooth to be reimplanted. And it might have saved it for a little time, but in some cases your tooth may fail in the future or never achieve the strength of your other teeth.

Why Reimplanted Teeth May Be Weak

dreamstime_s_19642068Although you can usually count on a tooth replaced quickly to grow back, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, you body may decide that the implanted tooth is more valuable as raw materials than as an actual tooth, and harvest it for minerals. When this occurs, your body will resorb the root of the tooth. Without a root, the tooth is vulnerable to being knocked out at the least disturbance. This most commonly affects people under the age of 16 when the tooth was reimplanted, but it can affect people of any age.

Other times, the periodontal ligament may not regrow. Although the tooth is wedged in the bone, it is really held in place by the soft tissue of the periodontal ligament. Without it, your tooth may be loose and more vulnerable to being lost.

Sometimes a Weak Tooth Is Better than None

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to reimplant a tooth that’s been knocked out. There are many reasons why a reimplanted tooth may be your best option, even if it’s not a long-term solution. The majority of people who lose teeth to trauma are just age 7-9. At that age, the alveolar ridge, the bone that is designed to hold the teeth in place isn’t well-developed. It can provide at least nominal support to a reimplanted tooth, but it couldn’t support a dental implant. And, depending on the state of your jaw, dentures or a dental bridge may also not be good, because they can interfere with development of your natural teeth.

A reimplanted tooth can also serve as a placeholder for future treatments. If you don’t reimplant a tooth, the jaw may believe that the bone supporting it is no longer necessary. The removal of that bone at an early age may make it difficult or impossible for you to get a dental implant later.

But even when a reimplanted tooth is a good short-term option, it may fail later, and then it’s time to look for a more permanent solution.

Dental implants remain the best option for replacing a lost tooth, if you have adequate bone to support them.

If you are concerned about losing a tooth for any reason, please call Ravon-Knopf at  for an appointment with a Beverly Hills implant dentist.

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Nicolas A. Ravon DDS MSD

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