Traumatic dental injury can happen to people of all ages and activity levels. The cause might be a car, truck, bicycle, or motorcycle accident. Or, maybe a slip and fall mishap – or even an elbow to the face during a soccer match. The main goal when treating a traumatic dental injury is to save any damaged teeth at risk of being lost and apply treatments that restore the teeth and mouth to full function and healthy appearance. As a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Hall Justice Law Firm can explain, the difference between saving and losing a tooth is dependent upon taking the right action as soon as possible after the injury.
What to Do About Dental Injuries
Here are some recommendations about dental injuries and what to do after dental damage occurs.
- Broken or Chipped Teeth
Broken or chipped teeth are one of the most common types of dental injury. When teeth have been chipped or fractured, or if they are loosened in their sockets or tender to the touch, make sure to see a dental care professional in less than 24 hours. Try to find any pieces of the tooth that have been broken off, as it may be possible to replace them on the crown of the tooth with bonding material.
- Knocked-Out Teeth
When permanent teeth have been knocked out of their sockets (avulsed), it is an emergency situation, and immediate attention is necessary. Recover the tooth if possible, holding it by the crown (not the root) and gently clean it off with milk or water. Keep it moist. Then, get immediate emergency dental treatment. If more than 2-3 hours pass, there may not be a chance that the tooth will survive. This is recommended for permanent teeth, baby teeth don’t usually need to be replanted.
However, if a baby tooth is lost, you will likely want to consult an orthodontist, An orthodontic professional can apply a treatment that holds the space where the baby tooth was lost open for the permanent tooth. Spacing devices ensure that other teeth don’t spread into the area where the permanent tooth is supposed to be and obstruct its eruption.
- Partially Displaced Teeth
Teeth can also be partially displaced if they are driven into or pushed partially out of their sockets, or if they are out of correct alignment. To ensure the teeth are restored to their proper position and remain there, an injured person should see an orthodontic professional without delay. An examination of the mouth should reveal the severity and extent of the damage, and indicate which restorative treatments are likely to be required.
To fix these types of injuries, you may require an orthodontist to work alone or with your general dentist to repair any damages that occur. If you are worried about the impact of the accident-related injury to your bite or the spacing of your teeth, it’s a good idea to see an orthodontist who has the qualifications and experience to accurately assess what needs to be done and carry out the repairs. Additionally, if you’re filing a personal injury claim to recover the costs of your medical bills, pain, and suffering, you’ll probably need medical documentation from an orthodontist describing the damage and the need for treatment.