recovered and, if clean, replanted, so that it looks like the corresponding tooth on the other side. Hold the tooth by the crown and replace in the socket. Usually the tooth will click back into the correct position. DO NOT TOUCH ROOT SURFACE. If contaminated, rinse the tooth with saline or water before replanting. Triathlon Trial Lawyer Doug Landau does not recommend gargling or rinsing with Gatorade or other sports drinks instead, as the fallen athlete should try to preserve the sterility of the injury site.
The reason for the urgency in replanting is that once the tooth is out of the socket, the likelihood of the body treating the tooth as a foreign object and resorbing the root increases rapidly. If the tooth is replanted immediately, the chances of saving the tooth with a root canal are very good; however, if the tooth is out more than 30 minutes, the chances of success begin to decrease. Teeth that are out for longer than about two hours have a very poor prognosis. (From a Roundtable on Dental Care and Injury Prevention in Athletes, Sports Science Exchange, Vol. 8 (1997), no. 3) In other words, if the athlete’s tooth has been knocked out for more than 2 hours, the chances of is being saved are a “long shot.” Therefore, rather than being a “hero” and finishing the race or workout with the tooth in your fuel belt; get to a dentist and get it put back in your mouth properly. Otherwise, you’ll look like a battered hockey player instead of a mended endurance athlete !