Accidents and sports injuries frequently cause damage to the teeth. Cracked or knocked-out teeth can lead to permanent changes in your smile. Therefore, anytime you have a dental trauma, you need prompt attention to save the tooth. Recognizing what dental trauma is can help you know when to turn to an endodontist.
What Is Considered a Dental Trauma?
Dental trauma refers to physical damage to a tooth. It could happen from a sports injury, auto accident, or even tripping and falling. Injuries to a tooth can have various consequences. For example, damage that causes a crack in the tooth can allow bacteria to enter the root canals and infect the tooth. Teeth knocked out of place need extra support to keep them in place and avoid permanent loss.
Endodontists can help with all forms of dental trauma. The following are the types of dental trauma endodontists treat:
In many cases, trauma typically causes a minor injury, such as a crack in a tooth. In other instances, cracked teeth may not happen due to direct trauma but from extreme temperature changes, grinding teeth, or having large fillings on a tooth. Regardless of their cause, cracked teeth fall into endodontic care because the damage poses the risk of letting germs into the tooth’s interior.
Cracks can vary in their extent and direction. These factors play important roles in how an endodontist addresses the problem and whether they can save the tooth. Don’t try to make a self-diagnosis or assessment if you have a cracked tooth; see an endodontist as soon as possible.
Luxated teeth, also called dislodged teeth, happen when a tooth pushes deeper into the socket, sideways in place, or pulled out of place without falling out completely. While you might feel tempted to try to replace the tooth yourself, you need a professional assessment of the tooth to find out if you need additional treatment. Luxated teeth may have root damage that needs endodontic care.
If you have a tooth knocked out of its proper place in its socket, get endodontic treatment as soon as possible.
When you have an avulsed tooth, it has completely been knocked from your mouth. If this happens, time becomes crucial in whether an endodontist can save the tooth. Find the tooth and get to an endodontist within 30 minutes. Don’t wash off the tooth or touch the root end. Place the tooth in a solution designed to preserve knocked-out teeth or in a glass of milk while you get to the endodontist.
The faster you get to the endodontist, the greater the chances are that the doctor can successfully replace your tooth.
How an Endodontist Treats Dental Trauma
Treatment for dental trauma varies depending on the type of damage to the tooth, and all dental injuries require professional assessment and treatment. Additionally, treatment for traumatic dental injuries differs for children and adults due to the former having still-developing teeth roots. Your endodontist will carefully tailor treatment to your tooth damage and dental anatomy.
Cracked Tooth Treatment
An endodontist will need to take X-rays or cone beam CT images of your cracked tooth to help determine how far the crack goes and to plan treatment. In some cases, cracked tooth treatment may require endodontic surgery to save part or all of the tooth. Other types of cracks may only require root canal therapy to prevent or treat infection in the tooth.
If you have questions about the type of treatment you need for your cracked tooth, feel free to talk to your endodontist. They will give you personalized answers based on your situation.
Luxated Tooth Care
Luxated teeth typically need splinting to restore them to their correct position. After a few days or weeks, the endodontist will follow up care with a root canal. This procedure repairs injuries to the canals of the tooth and may include adding medication inside the tooth to promote healing.
Make sure to keep up with all follow-up appointments after your initial visit for a luxated tooth. The endodontist will need to verify that the tooth stays on track to heal as intended.
Avulsed Tooth Repair
An avulsed tooth needs quick care. If you wait too long, even the best endodontist may not be able to restore the tooth to its socket. The best time to get treatment for a knocked-out tooth is within half an hour of the injury.
As with a luxated tooth, an avulsed tooth will need splinting to hold it in place in the gums. After a few days or weeks, your tooth may also need root canal therapy to remove germs inside the tooth and prevent infection.
Follow-Up Care After a Traumatic Dental Injury
If you have a knocked-out or dislodged tooth, an endodontist can splint it to replace the tooth in the socket. Additionally, they will request that you return for a follow-up visit and root canal. The root canal treats pulp damaged by the injury to the tooth and is a necessary part of the healing process. You may not feel pain the weeks after your traumatic tooth injury, but you still need a root canal.
How You Can Prevent Future Dental Trauma
After getting treatment for dental trauma, you’ll want to avoid the hassle and expense of needing additional care in the future. You have the power to prevent many forms of dental trauma, especially sports injuries.
First, make sure that you take exceptional care of your teeth to keep them strong and healthy. Regular brushing and flossing and dental exams can help you avoid cavities and the need for large or multiple fillings that can crack teeth.
Second, protect your teeth when engaging in contact sports. Always use a sports mouthguard during practices and games. These guards protect you from all forms of trauma, including avulsion, cracks, and dislodging.
Third, avoid cracked teeth caused by tooth grinding at night by wearing a nightguard while you sleep. These nightguards can also prevent jaw pain and headaches caused by teeth grinding.
By taking steps to avoid common causes of dental trauma, you can reduce your chances of future injuries.
Turn to Southern Endodontic Specialists for Care If You Experience Dental Trauma
Don’t let a traumatic dental injury harm your smile. Our team at Southern Endodontic Specialists focuses on helping our patients keep their natural teeth, whether damage occurs from decay or injury. We have two locations to provide those in the Tri-parish area with exceptional, specialized care. Contact your nearest location in Thibodaux or Houma if you have questions or need care for a dental trauma.