DENTAL Injury or Dental Trauma
WHAT IS DENTAL TRAUMA?
Dental trauma refers to trauma (injury) to the teeth or tissue around teeth (gums, bone, lips, tongue, etc.) Traumatic injuries occur frequently in children and young adults, they are mostly caused by sports, car accidents, fights, falls, biting, etc. In most cases of traumatic dental injuries, it is necessary to act fast in order to save the tooth and prevent complications.
WHAT TO DO WHEN I’VE HAD A DENTAL INJURY?
It is important to go to the dentist immediately for an accurate diagnosis and emergency treatment.
Proper management of dental trauma includes multidisciplinary treatment including the different dental specialties; general dentist, endodontist, pediatric dentist, oral surgeon and prosthodontist. A coordinated effort will ensure the patient receives the most effective care, resulting in a good prognosis most of the time.
WHAT TYPES OF TOOTH TRAUMA ARE THERE?
Cracked teeth: Apart from dental trauma, habits such as; ice biting, grinding, chewing hard objects, or opening objects with the teeth can cause cracks in dental tissue.
Treatment can vary from a simple filling or indirect ceramic restoration, to root canal treatment or extraction (it depends on the crack’s severity).
Tooth fracture: If you feel pain when eating or when the temperature changes, it’s possible that you’ve got a tooth fracture. The type of treatment that you need depends heavily on the type of dental trauma that your teeth have been through.
Minor chips are relatively easy to repair, and generally involves reattaching the piece which has been broken off, or replacing it with another tooth-colored material.
If you’ve broken a larger part of the tooth, but the pulp is not damaged, your dentist may restore and cover the tooth with porcelain indirect restorations.
If the pulp has been seriously damaged, the tooth will require root canal treatment before a crown placement.
Root fracture: If the fracture has extended all the way down to the root, the tooth may need to be extracted.
Dislodged (Luxated) teeth: After trauma, a tooth can end up being pushed to one side, out of, or into its socket. The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the damage, but the quicker the stabilization the better the long term outcome will be:
- The tooth can be gently pushed back into the socket by hand.
- Root canal may be necessary in permanent dentition. If the tooth pulp has started to die (this treatment should be beginning approximately one week after the injury).
Knocked out (Avulsed) teeth: It is often caused by trauma that affected the oral cavity and requires immediate dental attention for the tooth to be saved, the prognosis depends on:
- How long have the teeth been outside of the mouth (60 minutes’ maximum)
- The medium in which it was stored and carried (milk, saliva, saline solution or if the tooth has been immediately re-implanted in the socket after avulsion) It is important that the tooth does not dry out, otherwise the periodontal ligament won’t survive.
Broken jaw: After having an accident, if you can’t bring your upper and lower teeth together and are in pain, you may be experiencing a broken jaw. It is necessary to seek emergency treatment in a hospital.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR DENTAL TRAUMA?
Treatments for dental trauma depend on the type, location and severity of the injury. Some treatments include:
- Ceramic restorations
- Root canal treatment
- Tooth extraction
- Dental implants
- Fixed prostheses
- Maxillofacial surgery
HOW TO PREVENT DENTAL TRAUMA?
Dental trauma is difficult to prevent because it’s usually the result of an accident. But, there are some methods a person can use that can help, especially when playing sports. The use of a mouth guard can protect your teeth whenever you’re in a physical activity.
Other actions include:
- Wearing a seatbelt when driving
- Wearing a helmet of head guard during physical sports.
- Avoid chewing on hard objects; ice, hard candy, bones, pens, etc.
- If grinding teeth; the use of an oclusal splint will help.
- Avoid fights
- Secure your home against potential tripping or slipping hazards.
- Visit your dentist regularly; for prevention and treatment for tooth injury.