Teeth are naturally resilient, but face many threats. The most obvious enemies are tooth decay and gum disease, which are frequently the result of what people do not do, namely good oral hygiene practices and care. Threats are also posed by what people often do, but should not, such as smoking.
Those internal threats can be controlled and managed. On the other hand, external threats are much harder to control, such as traumatic mouth injuries. They originate from physical and sporting activities, car and bicycle accidents, or something as simple as tripping and falling or walking into a door.
While dental injuries can and do happen at any time, there tend to be a lot of such injuries during the summer and fall, when people are outside and active. There also have been studies which show that boys suffer tooth injuries more frequently than girls, and that the upper front teeth are more likely to suffer trauma.
Today we are fortunate that modern dentistry can treat such injuries if treated quickly, increasing the chances of an injured tooth’s survival
The most common types of dental injuries and treatments are:
Chipped or Fractured Tooth: In such cases, part of a tooth is broken, but remains rooted firmly in the mouth. Should there be chipping to small portions of its enamel (outermost white hard surface) or dentin (yellow layer lying just beneath the enamel), a natural-colored filling can repair the injury. Should the damage injure or expose the tooth’s inner pulp, a root canal treatment may be necessary to reduce pain and prevent infection.
Make sure to save the broken piece or pieces of tooth and bring it/them to your dentist. Cover the injury with wax or sugarless gum and contact your oral health professional immediately.
Dislocated Tooth: In such cases, the impact moves the tooth abnormally in the socket. The tooth must be stabilized and repositioned, possibly by splinting it to adjacent teeth. Such injury may also require a root canal.
Knocked Out Teeth: A knocked out tooth can be replanted if treated quickly; as a first step, rinse the tooth with cold, clean water (avoid touching the root), and replace it in the empty socket within a few minutes of injury. If such placement is not possible, place the tooth in a Hanks solution, milk, saline, saliva and/or water, which will keep the root from drying out.
Treat this injury as soon as possible to ensure the greatest chances of the tooth’s survival.
For all tooth injuries, make sure to clean the affected area with warm water, and add a cold compress as needed to minimize pain and swelling.
It is vital to act quickly. Call your dentist or Philadelphia oral surgeon should you or a family member suffer from one of these injuries.
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