Summertime: Dental Injuries

With the warmer weather, increased activities and sports, we also see an increase in dental trauma. In our office, it is almost weekly that we treat patients with trauma to their teeth, lips and the face.  Here are a few basics for what to do if a dental injury occurs.

Fractured Teeth
For all fractures, a dental exam is very important. This will include an examination of the area and an xray to determine a fractured root like the one you see pictured above. (Note: the tooth looked fine above the gumline, the root which was unseen was fractured).
Small chips do not need to be seen immediately, but major fractures that are sensitive to temperature or anytime there is bleeding around the gumline, you should schedule a dental visit as soon as possible.

Tooth Knocked Out
Timing is important.  If a permanent tooth was knocked out and is clean, it can be reinserted. If not, than you need to be seen immediately (after 1 hour the tooth has a poor chance for successful reimplantation).
What to do? Do not clean the tooth off, but keep the tooth moist. You can put it in a cup of milk or even in the patient's mouth (but only if there is no risk of swallowing the tooth). Seek dental care as soon as possible.

Lip or Tongue Bite/Cut
If you cannot get the bleeding to stop with pressure on the lip, than it needs to be seen in the office for examination and possibly sutures. If it was cut on a tooth, than a dental exam and xray will be needed of the tooth as well.

Tongue bites can be nasty (and bleed a lot!), but rarely do they require treatment. They do require a dental exam and treatment is based on severity.

There are many other dental injuries. Trauma to the head/face/jaw, burns, and a variety of injuries to the teeth from normal behavior. When deciding what to do, the best idea is to call our office and speak with a staff member or connect after hours on our emergency line with Dr. Fletcher!

We hope you have a safe and happy summer!