By Dr Nauv Kashyap

Dental trauma is defined as injury to the mouth, including teeth, lips, gums, tongue and jawbones. Dental traumas occur most commonly in children of ages 2 to 3 when motor coordination is developing and therefore risk of injuries due to falls is high. Dental traumas are also prevalent in adults due to sports related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, injuries related to violence and several other causes. The most common types of dental trauma are either a lost, broken or displaced tooth. When dental trauma receives immediate attention and proper treatment, the prognosis for healing is good. It is important to contact your dentist promptly in cases of dental trauma.

 

The following points are a guide for handling cases of dental trauma:

1) Immediately check for serious injury to other areas of the head and neck region.

2) Control any bleeding by applying pressure to the area with a clean cloth.

3) Apply wrapped ice to the outer area of the face to relieve pain and swelling.

4) Call to seek your dentist’s advice immediately (or hospital emergency department).

5) For some time after, check for swelling, pain, fever and difficulty eating. If these symptoms are present then there is most likely a risk of infection, therefore return to the dentist as soon as possible.

 

If a tooth has been completely removed (knocked out) due to dental trauma:

o DO NOT attempt to place the tooth back in place.

o There is a possibility that the tooth can be re-implanted if it is handled promptly and correctly!!

o If you are able to find the tooth, store it in milk (or cool water with a pinch of salt) and immediately see your dentist or hospital emergency department.

o Avoid touching the root area of the tooth when handling it.

o There is a risk of infection, therefore ongoing monitoring and review of the tooth will be required by your dentist.

 

If a tooth has been fractured:

o If the tooth fragment has chipped off, attempt to find it and store in milk as above.

o Visit the dentist as soon as possible.

o If the fracture is only in tooth structure (enamel and dentine) then the dentist may be able to bond the tooth fragment back on.

o A filling may also be performed by the dentist in order to repair the fracture.

o A root canal treatment may be required if the fracture has reached the nerves of the tooth.

o There is a risk of infection, therefore ongoing monitoring and review of the tooth will be required by your dentist.

 

If a tooth has been displaced:

o DO NOT attempt to reposition the tooth.

o Avoid biting on the tooth and area that has been displaced if possible.

o Visit your dentist as soon as possible.

o Depending on the amount of displacement, the dentist may be able to reposition the tooth.

o Depending on the amount of displacement, there is risk of tooth infection and pain.

o There is a risk of infection, therefore ongoing monitoring and review of the tooth will be required by your dentist.

o A root canal treatment may be required if the tooth has become infected.

 

With ALL types of dental trauma