Every year five million teeth are knocked from the mouth in which they belong. Ninety percent of these teeth could have been reinserted if proper preservation methods had been employed at the time of the incident. People often bring the dislodged tooth to the dentist in the hope that it can be reused or replant¬ed, but generally without having taken the necessary preliminary steps to keep the tooth viable. One myth to which credence is paid is that submerging the tooth in milk will preserve it. The truth is that the main component of teeth is enamel, which is one of the hardest substances in the body, but once a tooth is out of the mouth it begins dying in just 15 minutes. Within two hours the tooth is frequently dead. The only way a tooth can be saved for reinsertion is to keep the periodontal ligament, a thin layer of cells sur¬rounding the tooth, alive.
A good way to keep a tooth alive is to utilize a device developed by Dr. Paul R. Krasner, a professor at Temple University School of Dentistry and a contributing editor to The Journal of Endodontics. Dr. Krasner has patented a system that addresses the two primary causes of replanted tooth loss: tooth cell crushing and tooth cell dehydration. A specially designed basket holds the tooth in a pH-balanced solu¬tion that preserves and reconstitutes the periodontal ligament of the submerged tooth. A tooth that has been out of the mouth and placed in the solution within two hours can be preserved for up to four days, giving doctors time to utilize the tooth in repairing the injury. The kit, called Save-A-ToothTM, has a shelf life of approximately two years. It has been recommended by Clinical Research Associates and the Emergency Research Council Institute and is endorsed by the American Dental Association.
Obviously, nature’s ideal implant is the original tooth. Additionally, using the original tooth can save money. A prosthetic tooth can cost more that $2,500 and will not compare with a real tooth. Even baby teeth can be important to replace as they guide the way for the secondary teeth.
Because of the low cost to benefit ratio (Save-A-ToothTM kits are sold for under $20, including shipping and handling), they are a prudent addition to first aid kits wherever tooth-related injuries are possible, viz., childcare facilities, fitness centers, athletic fields, etc. They can be obtained online at www.save-a-tooth.com or by calling 888.788.6684. This well could be the next “staple” item in the YMCA first aid kit and the home.
Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.