DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Summer play time is fun time for kids, but when accidents happen, a tooth can be broken, loosened or even fall out.
Dr. Marc Masterson said they don't try to repair baby teeth, but when accidents happen to older kids with permanent teeth, they try everything to save the tooth.
"Number one: Keep it wet and keep it wet in as neutral a solution as you can. Milk qualifies, your saliva qualifies, and water - all that qualifies," said Masterson.
Austin Grimes, 15, was in an accident last year that cost him one tooth and very nearly cost him more. His mom, April Cantrell, said it was a freak accident when her son and daughter went to the grocery store. It started when he returned the grocery cart.
"When he pushed it back into the return, there were other buggies in the return and he pushed his buggy into the next buggy and when you do that, the flap comes up and lays on top," said Cantrell.
But that flap kept coming and hit him in the mouth.
"And he had braces on and with a heavy wire. It hit his mouth and it knocked these two teeth down and back, out of the socket. They were still hanging there by the braces," added Cantrell.
Damage on the bottom was worse with damage to the teeth and gum line.
"We went to the hospital first and got a hold of Dr. Marc," said Cantrell, who was frantic at the time. "[Be]cause it was late at night, when Dr. Marc got here, we went to the office in Huntsville."
Masterson had the task of putting Austin's mouth back together. The tooth that ended up in the parking lot couldn't be saved. Austin will have a flipper first and an implant later. His mom couldn't be more pleased.
"He did an amazing job saving the three teeth that were in his mouth," she said.
Doctors say there are also time constraints when it comes to trying to save a tooth.
"That's probably equally as critical. We know that within 30 minutes, if we can get the tooth back in its correct place, the chances for survival are much better. When we get 30 to 60 minutes, it starts to lessen. Post 60 minutes there's a very poor success rate," said Masterson.
By keeping the tooth wet and getting dental care quickly, the odds of keeping a healthy smile improve significantly.