Tooth Trauma

There are many forms of tooth trauma including knocked-out teeth, chipped teeth and teeth that have been pushed up into the gums. Learn what to do in a dental emergency and the different methods used to repair the teeth.

What is the first thing someone should do if their tooth gets knocked out? And, can it be put back in?

Dr. John Vitale: The first thing a person should do is get the tooth, retrieve it, hold it by the clinical crown, the part that is out of the gum. Place it in milk, wash it, wash it gently without touching the root. Place it in milk or water and get over to an endodontist or a general practitioner as soon as possible. With the tooth, obviously.

What can be done if a tooth is accidentally pushed up into the gums? Can it be fixed?

Dr. John Vitale: Yeah, yes it can. It can be brought back down again. It can be stabilized by bonding it. And depending on the situation, it may or may not need a root canal. But yes, it can be restored and repaired.

If a tooth gets chipped or cracked, what is the dental process like to repair it back to normal?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, any number of ways. If it is a simple crack or chip, an incisal repair, which is a placement of a composite resin, a filling material, on the end of the tooth, bonding it to the tooth and shaping it like a tooth. And in extreme cases, if the chip is too large, then you’d probably need to have a crown placed.

Is severe tooth pain considered a type of tooth trauma? What could be causing it?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, any type of severe tooth trauma could be caused by any number of things. Usually sports injuries, cracked teeth, fractured roots, tooth intrusion, let’s say a tooth gets pushed up into the gum line. Any number of, there are so many ways that you can injure your tooth.

What other types of tooth trauma do you see in your office? And, how do you handle it?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, the very common one in children are bike accidents. They fall off their bike or hit something with their bike and avulse a tooth. That’s the major one, and sports injuries obviously. And again, you follow the necessary procedures to put the tooth back into the mouth, stabilize it, do a root canal, and the overwhelming majority of them are saved.

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