Dental trauma involves any kind of injury to the face, teeth, gums or jaw line. Patients may experience trauma as a result of a sports injury, motor vehicle accident, or other type of incident. These injuries can range from facial cuts and lacerations to more serious problems such as broken teeth and fractures. The most common type of injury is a fracture of the tooth crown.
Dental Trauma Symptoms
Patients who experience dental trauma often have symptoms that may include:
- Loose or missing teeth
- Socket bleeding
- Jaw and soft tissue damage
The dentist will likely perform a series of X-rays in order to evaluate the extent of damage and determine the best treatment option for each individual condition.
Treatment of Dental Trauma
Treatment for dental trauma depends on the type and severity of the injury. Minor injuries that do not result in missing or loose teeth can usually be treated simply by applying a cold compress to the area to help reduce swelling. Dental restorations such as crowns or bridges may be used to repair chipped, cracked or broken teeth. A broken jaw may require surgery to realign the bone and allow for proper healing. Any type of facial trauma should be treated immediately to prevent any further damage from occurring.
Dental surgeons are trained to treat a range of facial traumas and provide emergency care for the following problems:
- Facial, lip and oral lacerations
- Fractured or avulsed (knocked-out) teeth
- Fractured facial bones
- Fractured jaw
Preventing Dental Trauma
While injury cannot always be avoided, accidents do happen. It is important to take safety precautions in daily life as well as when participating in activities that have a risk of injury. For that same reason, athletes should use protective mouth guards and appropriate masks and helmets for their sport.