Eden Dental Surgery - Tooth Accidents

Accidents do happen. It can happen in many situations. Very often these would involve the front teeth, sometimes even the back ones. What should you do in these situations? What can your dentist do for you? Here are some tips on what you can do in some of the possible situations...

A tooth gets knocked loose

A tooth is fractured

A tooth gets knocked out

A Tooth Got Knocked Loose

When a tooth gets knocked loose, it remains somewhat in the same position and can be rocked to and fro in its socket. Sometimes the tooth may be found to be 'deflected' and prevents the upper and lower teeth from biting properly. Mostly there will be bleeding from the gums.

What to do:

  1. With clean fingers, snap the tooth back into position.
  2. Check that you can bite the upper and lower teeth together with no obstruction from the affected tooth.
  3. Apply pressure to bleeding wounds to stop bleeding.
  4. Go immediately to your dentist for further attention.

What will the dentist do?
  1. Check that the tooth is properly in position. Then he will immobilise the tooth, either by supporting it with the adjacent teeth or using a splint. This will allow the tissues supporting the tooth to heal.
  2. XRays may be taken to check for damage in the roots or the bone under the tooth.
  3. Re-examine the tooth after 1 or two weeks, and 1 month later. XRays may be taken again.
  4. Root canal treatment may be needed if the pulp is damaged.
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A Tooth Got Fractured ?

An accident could cause one or more teeth to be broken. One concern in such a situation is that the fragments from the broken tooth could cut into the soft tissues (eg. the lip or tongue) and become embedded there. If not, there is a possibility that the fragments could be inhaled into the air passages leading to the lungs.

  1. Search for the broken fragments of the tooth.
  2. Apply pressure on any area that is bleeding. Use a clean handkerchief or cloth.
  3. Go to your dentist immediately. Bring the tooth fragments.
XRays may be required if the dentist suspects that tooth fragments may be embedded in any of the lacerations caused in the accident. A Chest XRay may need to be taken to exclude or locate tooth fragments that may be inhaled.

What can be done for the broken teeth?

Depending on the extent of the damage, the broken teeth could be treated by:

  • composite fillings or crown if the pulp is not exposed or affected.
  • root canal treatment followed by composite filling or post-crown if the pulp is damaged.
  • extraction in some situations. The lost tooth otr teeth can be replaced by means of a denture, a bridge or dental implants.
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A Tooth Got Knocked Out ?

What you should do...

A tooth that has been entirely knocked out of its socket often can be successfully replanted and continue to last for years.

It is important to be prepared and know what to do if this happens to you or someone with you. The key is to act quickly, yet calmly, and follow these simple steps...

  1. Pick up the tooth by the crown (the chewing surface) not the root.
    The tooth should be handled carefully - touch only the crown - to minimize injury to the root.

  2. Gently rinse the tooth with water, remembering not to handle the root surface.

    Do not...

    • use soap or chemicals.
    • scrub the tooth.
    • dry the tooth.
    • wrap it in a tissue or cloth.

  3. Do not attempt to replace the tooth in the socket yourself.
    Unless you are very sure that the root is clean, you might cause some foreign bodies to become embedded under the tooth.

  4. Keep tooth moist at all times.
    The tooth must not be allowed to dry. Put it in the mouth under the tongue or next to the cheek. If this is not possible (eg. due to severe bleeding in the mouth), keep immersed in saline. If saline is not available, use water. Add a pinch of salt if possible.

  5. See a dentist immediately.
    Bring the tooth to a dentist or endodontist as quickly as possible - ideally within 30 minutes.
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