Tooth Trauma

Both adults and children are susceptible to a tooth injury. It often happens when you least expect it. A slip on the ice. An elbow you didn’t see. However your injury occurred, seek emergency dental care as soon as possible, especially if you feel any pain from the accident. Tooth pain signals that there’s something wrong, whether you can see any damage or not. Contact Albany County Dental Associates immediately to save your tooth after a dental accident.

A tooth injury often occurs from a car accident, slip and fall, fight or sports injury. A chipped tooth is the most common type of injury, but if your tooth is broken, knocked crooked or knocked out completely, the injury is more severe. Immediate evaluation and dental injury treatment represent your best chance for saving the natural tooth.

Most dentists, including your Albany County family dentist, accommodate emergency dental situations. Call ahead, and the practice gets you in to see the dentist as soon as possible once you arrive. Your dentist knows that injuries — especially to the dentin or enamel of your teeth — must be resolved quickly. Otherwise, you risk an infection reaching the pulp of the tooth.

Types of Dental Injury Treatment

The type of tooth trauma you’ve experienced and the amount of pain you’re in determines your emergency dentist’s course of treatment. Fortunately, you have many options for treatment techniques to choose from. The types of dental injuries and the kinds of dental injury treatments you may receive include:

  • Infraction. A crack in the enamel that doesn’t penetrate to the lower layers of the tooth is the most easily treated tooth injury. If the crack is noticeable, your dentist may etch and seal the crack with composite resin that matches your tooth color to prevent long-term discoloration.
  • Chipped or fractured crown. If a small piece of your tooth has been chipped off, your dentist usually can reattach it or fill in the space with tooth-colored composite. If the chip is large enough, you may require a crown or cap to protect your natural tooth and root. Whenever the root or pulp is exposed, whether from a chip or fracture, a root canal treatment may be required to save the tooth.
  • Root fracture. Occasionally, an exposed tooth may appear intact, but you still feel sensitivity and pain. You may have a horizontal root fracture. If the fracture is close to the gum-line, your dentist may suggest, as part of your dental injury treatment, a splint to stabilize the tooth while the fracture heals.
  • Dislodged tooth. Depending on the angle of the blow you received, your tooth may be knocked sideways, out of socket, or pushed further into the socket, your jawbone or the surrounding gum tissue. Your dentist repositions and stabilizes the tooth, after which you often require root canal treatment, unless you’re under the age of 12. Dental injuries involving moving teeth often require a crown to provide further strength to the compromised tooth.
  • Knocked-out tooth. If your tooth has been completely knocked out from a tooth injury, careful handling of the tooth provides the best hope for saving it. A knocked-out tooth can give you many years of use if it can be saved. Keep it moist and don’t touch the roots. If possible, place the tooth back in the exposed socket while you search for immediate treatment. Your Albany County dentist uses a splint to stabilize the tooth during the healing process.

Factors Affecting Your Long-Term Prognosis After Tooth Trauma

Many factors affect the long-term outcome of your dental injury treatment. The type and severity of your dental injury, the length of time between the injury and treatment, and the proper handling of any knocked-out teeth can point to possible treatment outcomes. Your overall medical health and your body’s ability to regenerate tissue also affect healing.

Having a mature root system and a healthy periodontal ligament also plays a role in long-term recovery from tooth trauma. Proper and prompt dental examination, dental injury treatment, and continued follow-up also increase the chances of a long and functional life for the affected tooth.

Aftercare and Recovery from a Tooth Injury

Once your tooth has been treated, avoid participating in any activity that could result in another blow to your mouth, including any contact sports. After your tooth trauma, stick to a soft diet for up to two weeks. Use a very soft toothbrush for cleaning, along with a prescribed, medicated mouth rinse twice a day. Don’t brush vigorously around the healing tooth.

Quick, careful dental injury treatment can make the difference between extensive reconstruction — and having to eventually wear dentures or other dental prosthetics — and being able to retain your natural teeth into your senior years. If you’ve suffered tooth trauma, don’t wait to see your emergency dentist in Albany County. Get in for an exam as quickly as possible, and you’ll receive the best care and the most successful outcome.