Dentists treat all kinds of tooth problems, and your dentist will probably be your first point of call after sustaining any sort of trauma. Dental trauma with whatever age of patients, can be extremely distressing and stressful and many patients are not aware of the options available to them. Dental trauma is physical injury to the teeth, gums, the alveolar bone (the bone that holds the tooth sockets), or the soft tissue of the mouth, including the lips and tongue. There are several types of injury that fall under this category, including the following:
- Chipped teeth
- Teeth fractures, including root fractures, enamel fractures, etc.
- Teeth knocked loose
- Teeh jammed into socket
- Teeth knocked out
- Fracture of the tooth socket wall
- Jaw fracture
- Lacerations of the lips
- Lacerations of the gums
Dental injuries fall broadly into five categories: fractures, luxations and subluxations, avulsions and concussions.
Subluxation – the tooth is tender and is mobile
Extrusion – the tooth is almost pulled from the socket so appears longer and is very wobbly
Intrusion – the tooth is impacted into the alveolar bone
Avulsion – the tooth is not n the socket but in the hand
Concussion -just like receiving a bump on the head, the tooth is tender to touch or tapping but does not move
Dental trauma may be inflicted in a number of ways:
- Contact sports
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Physical fights
- Eating hard foods and drinking hot liquids
Appropriate diagnosis and a timely response will improve outcomes when managing traumatic dental injuries, and in many cases of traumatic dental injuries, the timeliness of care is key to saving the tooth. It is thus important for all dentists to have an understanding of how to diagnose and treat the most common dental injuries – and this is especially critical in the emergency phase of treatment.
The treatment depends on the nature of the trauma. Injuries to the mouth and teeth should be examined by a dentist, especially if a tooth or teeth have become loose or sustained damage. In some cases, when a tooth is visibly damaged, the neighbouring teeth may also have injuries that are not necessarily visible unless detected by a dental exam.
Broken blood vessels in the tooth’s pulp can cause tooth discolouration. Tooth trauma causes blood to leak into the dentin layer and become visible through the enamel. Veneers are porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of teeth to improve appearance. They’re designed to match the colour of your natural teeth, making them a perfect solution for treating discolouration and chipped teeth too. Veneers are durable and, if properly cared for, will only have to be replaced after 10-20 years of use.
Whitening is another treatment for trauma-induced discoloration. There are a variety of whitening options to restore your tooth’s natural colour, and we offer an at-home whitening treatments here using the brand ‘White Dental Beauty’ which is a whitening compound that delivers improved whitening results. This worldwide professional tooth whitening system is leading the way with high quality teeth whitening gels. All of their products are powered by an intelligent compound – NOVON®, proven to offer safe and effective results.
Veneers don’t just treat tooth discoloration – they also fix chips and fractures. However, they’re not always necessary. Bonding is sometimes all it takes to fix minor chips. During a bonding treatment, etch the surface of the tooth and place a plastic, tooth-coloured resin with a bonding liquid to replace any missing tooth fragments.
Crowns are another option worth exploring. Crowns are porcelain caps that are secured over damaged teeth and cemented in place to restore appearance and function. They also correct tooth decay and fractured fillings, stabilising teeth after root canal therapy. Porcelain crowns resemble natural teeth and can last anywhere between 5 and 15 years.
In some cases, the missing tooth can be reattached. However, this isn’t always an option. Dental implants are artificial teeth that are secured in the gum with a metal screw and serve as placeholders for missing teeth. They look just like real teeth and are equally functional.
Our patient, a 35 year old female came to us in clinic for advice and help on dental trauma she had suffered to her front tooth following a 2 year abusive relationship. Her confidence was at an all time low and although she was slowly rebuilding her life and goals, she was unhappy with the aesthetic look of her front tooth and felt it remained as a constant reminder of unhappier times.
After initial consultation we explored various options and began her treatment. The change in our patient over the coming months was immense. We saw a shy, nervous and anxious person, evolve, slowly, but surely into a self assured, happy individual who was able to smile with confidence and feel proud of what she saw in the mirror. The aesthetic look of her teeth ran far deeper, and we were proud to of had a helping hand in restoring her self-esteem.
For further information on how we can help with dental trauma please contact us here.