Injury to the mouth and face can be devastating. Not only in terms of pain, but loss of function and aesthetic concerns as well. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specially trained to deal with oral, facial and head and neck trauma. Our team can assess the entire trauma picture and deal with any associated issues. One complex area is dental trauma.
Dental trauma most often involves the anterior (front) teeth, but can involve any tooth. Its complexity stems from the fact that bone or tooth or gingiva (gums) or all three may be involved.
Because of the complexity, the dental team including the patient’s general dentist, and often an endodontist are asked to join in the decision making process and treatment of the patient.
For example, if a front tooth is involved in trauma it may simply need a composite restoration or a veneer or a crown. It may also require a root canal therapy.
In some cases the tooth must be initially stabilized with a wire, bonded to other teeth, or for an avulsed (knocked out) tooth reinserted.
In the most severe cases of trauma, bone fractures must be stabilized, sutures are used to close wounds, and the affected teeth need to be stabilized. Sometimes teeth are extracted if they are deemed non-restorable.
In the case of the lost or extracted tooth future placement of implants restores the dentition to its original state.
Avulsed Teeth (tooth knocked out)
If a tooth is knocked out, it should be placed in salt water (1/2 teaspoon to 8 oz.) or milk or can be placed in the patient’s own mouth between the cheek and gum.. The sooner the tooth is re-inserted into the dental socket, the better chance it will survive. But don’t put a dirty tooth back in the socket. Therefore, the patient should see a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. Never attempt to wipe the tooth off, since remnants of the ligament that hold the tooth in the jaw are attached and are vital to the success of replanting the tooth instead rinse in milk or salt water. Other dental specialists may be called upon such as endodontists, who may be asked to perform root canal therapy, and/or restorative dentists who may need to repair or rebuild fractured crowns. In the event that injured teeth cannot be saved or repaired, dental implants are often now utilized as replacements for missing teeth.