Traumatic Teeth Injuries

Published on May 23, 2018 by

The snow has melted; the sun is shining, and summer is almost here! With the arrival of summer comes trips to the park, bike rides, baseball/softball and all sorts of outside enjoyment. While we do everything to keep our kids safe during these activities, accidents still happen. Whether it be a fall on the playground or getting hit in the mouth with a baseball, injuries are bound to arise.  Often times this trauma involves the face, mouth, and in particular the front teeth.

Most common injuries to the teeth include chipped or cracked teeth, tooth intrusion, and tooth avulsion.

  1. A chipped or cracked tooth is probably the most common injury we see in a dental office resulting from sports or playground accidents. A chipped tooth is a visible fracture of the crown of the tooth. When only enamel is involved, the tooth may not cause any sensitivity and can be smoothed or a filling placed for esthetic reasons. If the chip involves dentin, the tooth will likely be very sensitive to cold and hot temperatures and a filling or possibly a crown may be needed depending on the extent of the fracture. A large fracture of the tooth can include the pulp. You may notice bleeding coming from the center of the tooth if the pulp is involved. Immediate attention from your dentist is needed as this type of injury will be very painful and a root canal will be necessary if the tooth is able to be saved.
  2. Tooth intrusion occurs when a tooth is pushed up into the socket and will appear shorter than it used to. In children under 16, spontaneous repositioning is possible. However, if the intrusion is significant or repositioning doesn’t occur, the tooth may need to be surgically repositioned or orthodontic treatment may be required to reposition the tooth. Frequently the nerve of the toot dies and root canal treatment will be necessary.
  3. Tooth avulsion, is when the entire tooth including the root is displaced from the socket. The outcome of this injury is largely determined by how quickly treatment is initiated. When a permanent tooth is knocked out completely, call your dentist immediately. If the person can be seen within an hour of the accident, the prognosis is much better. If you can get to your dentist quickly, find the tooth and touch it by the crown only. Avoid handling the root if possible. Some schools and parks may have a “Save a Tooth” jar to keep the tooth in while transporting the patient to the dentist. If not available, place the tooth in milk, Gatorade, or if the patient is able, hold the tooth in his or her mouth. Your dentist will attempt to replant the tooth into the socket and follow up may include root canal therapy and splinting of the tooth. 

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