While dental trauma is more common with children and teenagers, accidents can happen to anyone! As endodontic specialists, we here at Joshua Austin, DDS MAGD FACD specialize in a number of treatments designed to address dental trauma, especially a tooth that is cracked, fractured, or split. In most instances, injury or trauma to the face requires immediate attention from a dentist or endodontist.
Crown and Root Fractures
A crack or fracture to the crown (the visible portion of the tooth) may or may not be a dental emergency, depending on its severity and location. If the fracture only affects the enamel layer, and no pain is present, treatment is not usually necessary. Deep cracks that leave the dentin and pulp exposed to bacteria, on the other hand, should be addressed as soon as possible.
If the crack remains untreated for a significant amount of time, an infection in the pulp is all but guaranteed. If infection does occur, we typically perform a root canal to stop it from spreading to other areas. In most instances, we also restore the damaged tooth with a tooth-shaped cap known as a dental crown.
A fracture to the root structure, whether vertical or horizontal, is generally a serious issue. We may be able to stabilize the tooth with a splint or alternative restoration. Often times, however, we need to extract and replace the tooth.
Your teeth are situated in a boney part of the jaw known as the alveolar ridge. Injury or trauma to the alveolar ridge can threaten the life of a tooth and affect your facial appearance. A fracture or break near the root of a tooth may require care under an endodontist like Joshua Austin, DDS MAGD FACD.
We generally treat alveolar fractures by repositioning any displaced segments with a splint, scaffold, or mesh. We may also suggest regenerative endodontics, which involves the use of bioactive substances that restore damaged tissues with improved safety and effectiveness. The type of treatment we recommend depends on your individual situation.
Dislodged or Knocked Out Tooth
A dislodged tooth occurs when a blow to the face pushes the tooth into or out of its socket. This is considered one of the more serious injuries. Ultimately, the goal is to place the tooth back in its correct position and avoid the need for an extraction.
Unfortunately, a dislodged tooth may result in damaged pulp as well. Once it has been properly stabilized, we may suggest a root canal or regenerative endodontics to further protect the tooth. If there is no damage to the pulp, additional treatment beyond stabilization is not necessary.
A tooth that is completely knocked out, or avulsed, constitutes a dental emergency. The faster the tooth is reinserted the more likely it is to reattach to the bone. 30 minutes can make the difference between saving and losing the tooth.
If your tooth becomes knocked out, give us a call as soon as possible, so we can get you in for an immediate appointment. In the meantime, be sure to pick up the tooth by its crown, never the root. You should then gently wash it with room temperature water, and avoid removing any soft tissues still present on the tooth.
If you can, place the tooth back in its socket as soon as possible. If not, you can place it in between your cheek and teeth. A glass of water or milk is also an acceptable option. Endodontic treatment of this issue usually involves placing a stabilizing splint for a few weeks.
Schedule Your Appointment Now!
If you just experienced dental or facial trauma, you should reach out as soon as possible! Call (210) 408-7999 to schedule an immediate appointment now!