Tooth Injury Symptoms: Everything You Need to Know

Various types of tooth injuries can happen without warning and at the worst possible times. You may get a basketball in the face while shooting hoops with your kids or bite down too hard on an unpopped popcorn kernel at a movie theater. In some cases, you may not even notice the injury until later when symptoms appear. You need to address tooth injuries promptly to avoid losing the tooth. An endodontist can help treat tooth injury symptoms, especially since many types of injuries also damage the tooth’s pulp.

Types of Tooth Injuries

Tooth injuries fall into several types based on the form of injury. Knocked-out cracked, or dislodged teeth all need attention to reduce the chances of losing the tooth.

Avulsed Tooth

You likely know the term “knocked-out” tooth more than you do the name “avulsed.” The latter is the dental term for the condition. Whatever you know this injury by, it commonly occurs, with five million people of all ages experiencing it annually. This dental emergency requires attention by an endodontist or dentist within 30 minutes to maximize the chances of saving the tooth from loss.

Cracked or Broken Tooth

Cracked or broken teeth are another form of injury. The extent of the crack, its location, and its depth will all help the endodontist to plan to appropriate treatment in an attempt to save the tooth. In some cases, a crack that splits the tooth or starts at the root cannot be saved, even with expert care. However, only after imaging the tooth and an evaluation of the results by an expert will you know if an endodontist can save the tooth.

Some people don’t notice that they have a cracked tooth because the injury could have occurred during sleep, such as when nighttime teeth grinding causes cracks in molars. Often, cracked teeth cause pain that varies in intensity or disappears for a while before returning. Sharp pain when biting down on the tooth or when exposing the tooth to hot and cold also occurs frequently with cracked teeth.

Whether you can see the crack or only experience tooth injury symptoms, you need to see an endodontist for an evaluation of the tooth and cracked tooth treatment.

Dislodged Tooth

When a tooth dislodges, it could force its way deeper into the socket or push it out of the socket. You cannot reposition the tooth yourself. You need a dentist or endodontist to stabilize the tooth to ensure that it stays in place as it heals. Depending on the injury, you may need a root canal to repair the tooth’s root after it heals.

We can help you if you have a dislodged tooth at our Southern Endodontic Specialists Houma and Thibodaux locations.

What to Do If You Experience Tooth Injury Symptoms

Your actions after a tooth injury can help raise your chances of keeping the tooth. Knowing what to do before you injure a tooth or have one of your family members experience this harm can ensure you get the correct treatment.

First-Aid for a Knocked-Out Tooth

For a knocked-out tooth, act fast. You only have 30 minutes to get your tooth to an endodontist for treatment. First, locate the tooth, handling it only by the crown part. Never touch the tooth root. Rinse off dirt with water only if the tooth fell on the ground. Avoid scrubbing the tooth or using soap and water.

If possible, place the tooth into the socket during the trip to the endodontist. Hold the tooth with gentle biting pressure or a finger. However, if you cannot fit it in place, bring the tooth to the endodontist in a glass of milk or emergency tooth preservative. Skip tap water, which can damage cells in the tooth’s root.

Don’t go to an emergency room. Instead, seek emergency care from an endodontist or dentist for a knocked-out tooth. They will replace and splint the tooth to keep it in place as it resets in the mouth. You might need root canal therapy after the doctor removes the splint to prevent infection.

What to Do If You Crack a Tooth

Cracked teeth don’t have a set timeframe to get treatment for as avulsed teeth do. Therefore, you can likely wait until office hours to get an appointment instead of seeking emergency treatment. Call the endodontist’s office for advice based on your condition. You still need to see an endodontist as soon as possible to prevent germs from getting into the crack and causing an infection.

Depending on the attributes of the crack, the endodontist may perform root canal therapy or surgery to treat it.

How to Address a Dislodged Tooth

Dislodged teeth require splinting to keep them in place. You should see an endodontist as soon as possible to have the tooth placed in a splint for stabilization during healing. You may require a root canal if the root becomes impacted or infected.

Steps to Prevent Traumatic Tooth Injuries

You have the power to protect your teeth from traumatic injuries. While some accidents can still happen, you can become proactive in avoiding some of the most common causes of tooth injuries.

If you participate in sports or high-impact workouts, wear a mouthguard. This small tool can protect your teeth from avulsion or dislodging if you get hit by a ball or another player. For sports that require face masks, such as football, never neglect to put on the mask. This extra layer provides additional protection for your face and teeth.

Grinding your teeth at night can lead to small cracks, especially in the molars. If you wake up with headaches, jaw pain, or a popping jaw, try wearing a night guard to cushion your teeth at night. A night guard reduces the force your teeth experience at night and prevents the long-term stress of grinding from cracking teeth. Your night guard and sports mouthguard are not interchangeable. You need a separate guard for sports and for sleeping to gain adequate protection.

Be careful when eating. Watch carefully for bones when eating fish or poultry. Avoid grabbing handfuls of popcorn that could hide unpopped kernels. Use your fingertips to get fully popped popcorn. Also, shake the popcorn container to allow many of the unpopped kernels to sift to the bottom.

Finally, never use your teeth for anything other than eating food. They are not nutcrackers, bottle openers, or package rippers. Use appropriate tools for these tasks and not your teeth to avoid dental injuries.

Come See Us at Southern Endodontic Specialists for Care of All Types of Tooth Injuries

Don’t risk your smile to a tooth injury. Come see us at Southern Endodontic Specialists in Houma or Thibodaux. We offer emergency care for all during office hours and for established patients or those referred by dentists after hours. Contact us at your nearest location to inform us that you have an injury and are on the way. Improve the chances of keeping an injured tooth with our expert care at Southern Endodontic Specialists.