What is Dental Trauma?
Dental trauma, or dental injuries, are injuries to the teeth, gums, or other nearby tissue, and are usually caused by accidents or sports injuries. For optimal recovery, dental trauma should be treated as quickly as possible. We have treated many pediatric dental injuries and are well-prepared and well-equipped to care for these time-sensitive injuries.
When you come to us for a traumatic dental injury, Dr. Kris will perform an examination to establish a complete and correct diagnosis of all injuries. Treatment may differ depending on whether the affected tooth is a permanent or baby tooth, so carefully assessing the injury is key. Some common questions we may ask you and/or your child include:
- Where did the injury occur? This helps us determine the right questions to ask you and your child as well as helps to guide our examination of all possible injuries.
- How did the injury occur? This helps our team to identify all impact zones, i.e. a chin injury is often combined with crown or crown-root fractures in premolar and molar regions.
- When did the injury occur? This information may be essential in relation to many injury types. In relation to a tooth avulsion, the extent of time and the extraoral storage condition becomes very decisive for later treatment.
- Was there a period of unconsciousness? If so, for how long? Amnesia, nausea, and vomiting are all signs of brain damage and require medical attention.
- Is there any disturbance in the bite? An affirmative answer may indicate a luxation injury or root fracture with displacement, an alveolar or jaw fracture, or a fracture of the condylar region.
- Is there any reaction in the teeth to cold and/or heat exposure? A positive finding indicates exposed dentin and/or pulp of the tooth.
After the thorough and careful examination of your child’s troubled tooth (or teeth), we will consult with you about the appropriate treatment and get them out of pain and back to their normal activities as soon as possible!
Common Examples Of Dental Trauma
Chipped or Fractured Teeth
A tooth fracture is a break or crack in the hard shell of the tooth. Fractured or chipped teeth should be treated not only for the pain and cosmetic problems they can cause but also because these injuries can expose important parts of the teeth to infection or decay. If your child fractures or chips a tooth, we will stabilize the tooth if necessary, then evaluate the injury further to determine whether the tooth will need to be extracted or if other treatments can be applied in order to save the tooth.
Dislodged or Displaced Teeth
A dislodged or displaced tooth has been pushed out of its correct position but remains in the socket. These types of injuries are considered dental emergencies and should be treated immediately. If your child has had a tooth dislodged or displaced, we will evaluate and stabilize the tooth immediately, then discuss with you what is the proper course of action. Many factors are considered, such as the type and severity of the injury, and whether the tooth is a baby or a permanent tooth.
A knocked-out, or avulsed, tooth needs immediate attention. If your child has a tooth knocked out, we will carefully examine the injury and provide the appropriate immediate treatment, then consult with you on the proper course of action. As with other dental injuries, many factors are considered in treatment, such as the severity of the injury, the condition of the knocked-out tooth, and whether the tooth is a baby or a permanent tooth.
A traumatic injury can sometimes cause a root fracture, in which the non-visible portion of the tooth that inserts into the socket is broken or cracked. Root fractures aren’t visibly apparent, so we will need to perform an X-Ray to determine if the root has been fractured.
Normally, a tooth with a fractured root will need to be stabilized with a splint for some time so that it can heal properly. More severe fractures may require more extensive treatment. As with all other dental injuries, once we’ve examined and determined your child’s injury, we will consult with you about the most appropriate treatment.