Traumatic Dental Injuries Part One
Have your child visit their general dentist or pediatric dentist for their routine check up and ask about protective mouth guards for sports. If a traumatic injury does occur, get them in to their endodontist right away for evaluation and treatment. Here are some helpful tips on traumatic dental injuries.
Chipped or Fractured Teeth Most chipped or fractured tooth crowns can be repaired either by reattaching the broken piece or by placing a tooth-colored filling. If a significant portion of the tooth crown is broken off, an artificial crown or cap may be needed to restore the tooth.
If the pulp is exposed or damaged after a crown fracture, root canal treatment may be needed. These injuries require special attention. If breathing through your mouth or drinking cold fluids is painful, bite on clean, moist gauze or clothe to help relieve symptoms until reaching your dentist's office. Never use topical oral pain medications or ointments, or place aspirin on the affected areas to eliminate pain symptoms.
Injuries in the back teeth often include fractured cusps, cracked teeth and the more serious split tooth. If cracks extend into the root, root canal treatment and a full coverage crown may be needed to restore function to the tooth. Split teeth may require extraction.
Dislodged (Luxated) Teeth During an injury, a tooth may be pushed sideways, out of or into its socket. Your endodontist or general dentist will reposition and stabilize your tooth. Root canal treatment is usually needed for permanent teeth that have been dislodged and should be started a few days following the injury. Medication such as calcium hydroxide may be put inside the tooth as part of the root canal treatment. A permanent root canal filling will be placed at a later date.
Children between 7-12 years old may not need root canal treatment since their teeth are still developing. For those patients, an endodontist or dentist will monitor the healing carefully and intervene immediately if any unfavorable changes appear. Therefore, multiple follow-up appointments are likely to be needed. New research indicates that stem cells present in the pulps of young people can be stimulated to complete root growth and heal the pulp following injuries or infection.
See next month's article for some more helpful tips on traumatic dental injuries.