Accidents happen — even with your teeth. Pain, fractures, and cuts from mouth trauma may result in an urgent situation requiring immediate treatment. If you’ve broken or lost a tooth or are experiencing severe pain or swelling, we’re here to help you.
Types of Dental Trauma:
Concussion: An injury that occurs to the tooth without dislodging it from its socket. The tooth may be painful to tap or touch.
Treatment: No medical treatment is necessary in most cases.
Patient Care: Soft foods are recommended for one week.
Subluxation: An injury that causes mobility of a tooth without displacing it from its socket; the tooth will move but doesn’t lift out of place. There may be evidence of bleeding around the gums.
Treatment: A temporary splint may be placed across the damaged tooth for up to 2 weeks. However, this treatment isn’t always necessary.
Patient Care: Soft foods for one week and consistent oral hygiene practices with gentle brush strokes.
Extrusion: An injury that partially displaces the tooth out of the socket.
Treatment: Clean the exposed root with saltwater, reposition the tooth, and stabilize using a flexible splint for two weeks.
Patient Care: Soft food for one week, gentle brushing, and warm salt water rinse 2-3 times each day.
Lateral luxation: A fracture of the bones around the tooth with displacement of the tooth horizontally
Treatment: Rinse the area with saltwater, numb with local anesthesia, reposition the tooth, and apply an acrylic or wire splint for 3-4 weeks. After four weeks, we remove the splint, check nerve health, and reassess the area for any root damage.
Patient Care: Soft food for one week, gentle brushing, and warm salt water rinse 2-3 times daily.
Intrusion: Displacement of the tooth further into the socket. This injury often includes bone socket fracture.
Treatment: Clean area with saltwater, suture any gum tears, and allow 1-2 weeks for the tooth to stabilize. If this fails, orthodontic or surgical repositioning may be required.
Patient Care: Soft foods for two weeks, gentle brushing, and warm salt water rinse 2-3 times daily.
Avulsion: Complete displacement of a tooth that leaves an open socket with bleeding and clotting.
Treatment: IMMEDIATELY call a dentist if a permanent tooth is knocked out. Avoid touching the root and place it back in the socket, if you can. Bite against a moist paper towel or Kleenex. If this isn’t possible, store the tooth in milk and try to see a dentist within 30 minutes. The dentist will clean the area with saline, reposition the tooth, and apply a flexible splint for two weeks. Most of the time, antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection. After 7-10 days, your dentists will start root canal treatment if everything looks stable.
Patient Care: Avoid contact sports or hard foods for 2-3 weeks. Brush and rinse gently after eating.
Enamel fracture: Trauma of tooth enamel may result in structural damage, such as chipping.
Treatment: In some cases, your dentist may be able to bond a broken piece back into place. More commonly, the broken area is repaired with composite resin.
Patient Care: Practice consistent oral hygiene and schedule regular preventive visits to monitor the area.
Enamel-dentin fracture: A break that doesn’t involve the nerve center but damages the overlying tooth structure layers. This injury often results in a large portion of the tooth breaking.
Treatment: In some cases, your dentist may be able to bond a broken piece back into place. More commonly, the broken area is repaired with composite resin. Your dentist may also check for fragments by taking an x-ray of the lips and gum.
Patient Care: Maintain consistent oral hygiene and schedule regular preventive visits to monitor the fracture.
Enamel-dentin-pulp fracture: A break that affects the enamel and dentin layers and exposes the nerve inside the tooth.
Treatment: Your dentist numbs the area, cleans out the nerve, and places a soothing medication inside the tooth. Your dentist uses composite resin to repair the broken portion.
Patient Care: Avoid solid foods for two weeks and see your dentist 6-8 weeks later. Plan on a reassessment of your tooth in one year.
Alveolar Bone Fracture
Alveolar fracture: Fracture of the bone around the tooth resulting in tooth dislocation or a fractured segment of several teeth.
Treatment: Clean area, suture gum wounds, and reposition tooth/teeth segment. Your dentist places a temporary, flexible splint to hold the section. After four weeks, the splint is removed.
Patient Care: No solid foods for two weeks and gentle brushing daily. Schedule follow-up appointments over several months and annually after that.
Jaw fracture: A break that occurs in the main body of the upper or lower jaw. The injury may or may not involve the bone surrounding the teeth.
Treatment: Jaw fracture treatment varies depending on the injury’s severity. It may be possible to manually reposition the displaced segment and stabilize it with a splint. In more severe cases, surgical stabilization with plating may be required.
Patient Care: Instructions depend on the injury, treatment, and healing progress. In most cases, patients avoid solid foods for two weeks and heavy chewing or normal jaw movement for 4-6 weeks. It’s essential to maintain follow-up visits as ordered by your dental and surgical team.