Traumatic Dental Injuries
Dental emergencies are a common occurrence, but some require treatment from an endodontist. Endodontists often treat patients who have sudden and severe pain due to damaged or diseased teeth. Common endodontic emergencies include
- badly chipped teeth
- cracked teeth
- badly infected teeth
- inflamed or infected bone tissues beneath the gums
Visiting a specialist results in getting immediate pain relief and reliable treatment from someone who treats similar emergencies every day.
Traumatic dental injuries are usually caused by an accident or sports injury — a tooth can become partially dislodged or knocked out entirely. Treatment for these kinds of injuries depends on the type, severity, and location of the damage, but may include root canal therapy if the dental pulp has been damaged.
Dr. Concepcion is happy to offer same-day emergency care when needed. Be sure to contact us as soon as you can after an injury or when there is an emergency.
Types of Injuries
Chipped or Fractured Tooth
When the pulp is exposed or damaged after you have chipped or fractured your tooth’s crown, root canal treatment may be needed.
Injuries in the back teeth, such as fractured cusps, require root canal therapy and a full-coverage crown to restore function to your tooth if the crack extends into the root. Split teeth that are more seriously injured may require extraction.
Dislodged (Luxated) Tooth
A dislodged, or luxated, tooth is one that has been partially pushed into or out of its socket, or sideways, during an injury.
Your dentist or endodontist will first reposition and stabilize the tooth. Permanent teeth that have been dislodged will require root canal therapy, which should begin several days after the injury and be monitored carefully until the treatment has been deemed successful. A crown or permanent root canal filling will be placed at a later date.
Knocked-Out (Avulsed) Tooth
With appropriate emergency action, a tooth that has been knocked out of its socket can be successfully replanted and last for years. Time is crucial, and if you get treatment quickly (within about 30 minutes), there is a chance to save your tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture
A vertical root fracture is a crack that begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of a tooth. Unfortunately, it displays minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed for quite awhile, only being discovered when the surrounding bone and gum become infected.
Endodontic surgery is at times appropriate if a tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root. Otherwise the tooth must be extracted.
Traumatic Dental Injury FAQs
Do traumatic dental injuries differ in children?
Chipped primary (baby) teeth can be esthetically restored. Dislodged primary teeth can, in rare cases, be repositioned. However, primary teeth that have been knocked out typically should not be replanted because it may cause further and permanent damage to the underlying permanent tooth that is growing inside the bone.
Children’s permanent teeth that are not fully developed at the time of the injury need special attention and careful follow up, but not all of them will need root canal treatment. In an immature permanent tooth, blood supply to the tooth and stem cells in the region may enable your endodontist to stimulate continued root growth.
Endodontists do all that is possible to save the natural tooth. They have the knowledge and skill to treat incompletely formed roots in children so that, in some instances, the roots can continue to develop.
Will the tooth require any special care or additional treatment?
Factors that affect the long-term health of your tooth after an injury include the type of injury, the length of time from injury to treatment, how your tooth was cared for after the injury and your body’s response. Getting treatment as soon as possible is very important with dislodged or knocked-out teeth in order to prevent root resorption.
Resorption occurs when your body, through its own defense mechanisms, begins to reject your own tooth in response to the traumatic injury. Following an injury, you should return to your endodontist for tooth examination and/or treatment on a regular basis for up to five years to ensure that root resorption is not occurring and that surrounding tissues continue to heal. Unfortunately, some types of resorption are untreatable.
Maria Concepcion, D.M.D
250 W. Lancaster Ave.
Paoli, PA 19301
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