A guide to dental avulsion

Posted on: 11 April 2017


Dental avulsion is the term used to describe a tooth that has been completely dislodged from its socket. Read on to learn more about this condition. 

What can cause dental avulsion?

Dental avulsion is almost always caused by some form of physical trauma. It may occur if a person falls over and hits their mouth very hard against the ground of if they are hit in the face by another individual. Dental avulsion is also very common amongst those who play high-impact sports, such as rugby or martial arts.

What problems are associated with this dental issue?

Immediately after a tooth is knocked out, the sufferer may experience a number of potentially serious problems, including severe pain, persistent bleeding which cannot be stopped by placing pressure on the wound, as well as swelling of the affected side of the face. If they do not go to the dentist straight away, an infection may develop at the wound site, which may then result in a fever.

Dental avulsion can also cause long-term problems if the sufferer chooses not to have their dislodged tooth replaced. For example, the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth may start to move and cause issues with the person's bite alignment. Additionally, over the course of a few years, the person may experience jawbone deterioration.

How is dental avulsion treated?

If the knocked-out tooth can be located and stored in a saline solution until the sufferer can get to the dental clinic, it may be possible to re-implant it back into the socket. There is, however, a limited timeframe for re-implantation. Generally speaking, only those who receive treatment within the first hour after the dental trauma has occurred will be able to have their tooth reattached. This is because the tooth's root cells start to die almost immediately after they are removed from the socket.

During this procedure, the dentist may place a splint around the affected tooth to hold it in place for the duration of the reattachment period (it can take a few weeks for the tooth root to fuse back to the socket). In cases where the dental avulsion has caused damage to the tooth's pulp, the dentist may also need to carry out a root canal treatment.

If the dislodged tooth cannot be saved, the dentist will offer their patient a number of different restoration options, including a dental bridge, a dental implant or a denture.