Traumatic Dental Injuries
Traumatic dental injuries are frequent in both kids and adults and are often the result of accidents or sports-related trauma. Treatment will depend on the severity and location of the injury. Chipped teeth account for the majority of all dental injuries and are the easiest to restore to function. More severe injury often results in dislodged or knocked-out teeth. In such cases, you should see a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible as favorable prognosis relies heavily on timely diagnosis and treatment.
Any dental injury, even if it seems mild, requires examination by a dentist or an endodontist. Oftentimes, the neighboring teeth, which appear unaffected by the trauma, are in fact injured. A thorough dental exam is necessary to avoid future complications.
Endodontists are dentists who specialize in treating dental injuries. With the advanced training, technology and skill, injured teeth can often be saved! If you have a cracked or injured tooth call our office right away. Our schedule is flexible and allows for emergency care so that we can get you treated and out of pain as soon as possible!
Chipped or Fractured Teeth
Chipped front teeth are often repaired simply by reattaching the broken piece or by a build up with a tooth-colored filling. In more severe cases where a more significant portion of the tooth is missing, a “cap” or crown may be necessary to restore the tooth.
If the pulp is exposed or damaged by the fracture, the tooth will be very tender to touch and will react painfully to cold or heat. In such cases, the tooth will likely require root canal therapy. If breathing through your mouth or drinking cold fluids is painful, bite on clean, moist gauze or cloth to relieve symptoms until reaching our office. Never place aspirin directly on the affected area to eliminate pain. Aspirin will burn soft tissues if applied topically.
Injuries of the back teeth often include hairline fracture, fractured cusps, and split tooth. If the fracture extends into the pulp, root canal treatment and a crown may be needed to restore function to the tooth. In cases of split tooth, extraction is usually our only option.
Dislodged (Luxated) Teeth
When teeth are injured, they are often pushed into the socket or moved sideways within the socket. In most severe cases, the tooth can be completely knocked out of its socket. Regardless of the severity of the injury, immediate treatment by your dentist or endodontist is required. The injured tooth will be repositioned and stabilized. Root canal treatment is usually required for permanent teeth that have been dislodged and should be started within a few days to prevent complications such as inflammatory resorption or dental infection.
Children under 12 years old may not need root canal treatment, as their teeth have not fully matured and the pulp is capable of regeneration. It is still very important that the tooth is repositioned and stabilized. An evaluation and further follow-up should be scheduled with an endodontist to monitor the health of the tooth. If any unfavorable changes occur, immediate treatment allows for fast healing. Thus, multiple follow-up appointments will likely be needed. New research indicated that stem cells present in the pulps of young people can be stimulated to complete root growth following injuries or infection.
At times, trauma to the tooth may result in a horizontal root fracture. The prognosis of the tooth with this injury depends on the location of the fracture. The closer the fracture is to the root end the better the long term prognosis for the tooth. However, the closer the fracture is to the gum line, the higher the chances are that the tooth will be lost. Root canal treatment is sometimes indicated after the tooth is stabilized.