Emergency Dental Care
Emergency dental care refers to any substantial injury, trauma, or physical damage to the teeth, gums, lips, tongue, jawbone, or any other part of the mouth. There are different types of dental trauma according to Riverstone Family Dentistry based on the extent of the injury, which range from tooth fractures, loose teeth, knocked out teeth, teeth that are jammed in their sockets, and fractures of the tooth socket which may result in the laceration of the gum tissue or tongue. If you have suffered an injury to your mouth, you should contact Riverstone Family Dentistry for immediate dental care.
Types of Dental Trauma
There are many causes of dental trauma which require different approaches in order to recover effectively. One type of trauma is a fracture. A superficial fracture is a damage that is only done to the enamel of your tooth. It usually isn’t that serious unless you are left with a sharp edge on your tooth. If you do have a sharp edge, it can be filed easily. A serious fracture is when your tooth becomes sensitive to the touch or when you eat hot or cold foods.
Another type of trauma is displacement. This is when you have an accident that either pushes your tooth deeper into the socket or knocks it loose. If the accident is severe enough, your tooth could be knocked out completely or you could fracture the supporting bone. In most cases of displacement, blood vessels are damaged.
Some of the most common causes of dental trauma include contact sports such as football, car accidents, or eating hard foods. However, dental trauma is not limited to these events.
Many treatment procedures are used to deal with trauma to the mouth, depending on the nature of the injury. Most patients are advised to seek an expert's opinion after a comprehensive assessment after sustaining a visible dental injury since the adjacent teeth are likely affected.
If your tooth has been knocked loose, fractured, moved out of position, or completely knocked out, you will need to get to the dentist as soon as you can. The first 30 minutes will make the difference between saving your tooth or losing it completely.
A fractured or chipped tooth is common when it comes to dental-related injuries. The most effective solution is to undergo a colored tooth filling to replace the lost part without making it look conspicuous. However, if the entire crown has been knocked out, a more intricate procedure is used, where our dentist will use artificial caps or crowns to replace what is lost.
If your tooth is just loose, the dentist can splint the tooth to the teeth beside it to stabilize it while the gums and bone heal underneath. There is an increased risk of infection, so you may need to have a root canal during your visit. Our dentist might choose to apply a sedative dressing to the splinted tooth to help with any pain you are experiencing.
Your tooth will be re-evaluated in two to four weeks to determine if the tooth has restabilized. If it has, the splint will be removed, and a filling or crown will take its place to restore the fractured tooth.
If your tooth has endured an injury that involves a vertical, diagonal, or horizontal fracture to the root, this is extremely severe. In most cases, this type of trauma will not be able to be repaired and the tooth will need to be extracted. The dentist will place a temporary tooth until a more permanent replacement is made. For a chipped tooth, treatment usually consists of placing a dental filling or a crown to get your tooth back to its normal shape.
For a lost permanent tooth, you should handle it only by the crown, not by the root. Rinse the tooth with clean water and try to reimplant it in your mouth. You should immediately come see us so we can make sure the tooth is placed properly. If you are unsure about placing the tooth back in by yourself, you can store it in cold milk or a tooth preservation liquid. In either case, you should seek out help from us immediately.
Other injuries are pretty extensive to the point where the pulp is left exposed, or the cusps are fractured, which is risky and likely to result in an infection. The sooner you seek professional dental expertise, the better the results of the treatment. This will usually require a root canal procedure to instill sufficient support for the tooth and stop any future damage.
Other injuries result in a split tooth, leaving no option but to extract it and consider replacement solutions such for aesthetic purposes. Patients who are not yet teenagers should not have a root canal procedure done since their teeth can heal independently.
Managing Dental Trauma
Most dental-related injuries are accidental and occur to patients who are young. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that parents and guardians are aware of the necessary steps to take in increasing the safety of their children. A thorough oral hygiene routine also goes a long way in ensuring that teeth are healthy and robust.
Mouthguards for sports also provide protection to your children’s teeth. Our office can fit your child for a mouthguard specific to their mouth and teeth. A tight fit ensures the mouthguard will not slip while they are playing sports. Contact sports which may require mouthguards include football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and wrestling.
If an injury is sustained on primary teeth, the child needs to have limited access to a pacifier, leading to further complications. Slightly older children are advised not to have hard foods after sustaining an injury and are required to stick to soft foods until they fully recover.
Every injury sustained requires a professional opinion, which prompts a consultation by a qualified dental practitioner. If you or your child have experienced a dental trauma and are requiring emergency dental care, contact Riverstone Family Dentistry at (360) 326-1443 immediately to schedule an appointment and determine treatment.