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Dealing with Dental Trauma

By HERWriter
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Statistics show that one-third of all 5-year-olds have sustained injury to their primary teeth, and one-quarter of all 12-year-olds have sustained injury to their permanent teeth. Dental trauma can happen through sporting events, a fall, a car accident or other impacts.

Dentists and physicians classify dental injuries into four main categories:
1) fractures - either a part of the tooth comes off or a root is fractured
2) lateral or extrusive luxation - loosening or displacement of the tooth from its normal position

3) intrusion - displacement of the tooth into the alveolar bone
4) avulsion - complete loss of tooth from its socket

If any of these things happen, get to a dentist as soon as possible. Don't wait! The longer you wait to seek appropriate dental treatment, the greater the possibility that the tooth, gum tissue or alveolar bone will suffer permanent damage. If there is a chance of salvaging the tooth treatment needs to begin right away. Many dentists reserve spots in their schedule for walk-ins and emergencies.

Examination of Dental Trauma

On visiting a dentist, examination will surround:
- determining the extent of damage to the tooth, gum, and alveolar bone
- determining the extent of tooth mobility/loosening/displacement and alteration of bite (occlusion)

Expect at least one radiograph to be taken, likely a panorex (wide/all the way around the mouth). This radiograph will allow the dentist to see all mouth structures from one TMJ to the other. X-rays of individual teeth may also be warranted, such as bite-wings or periapical films, to evaluate the tissues and structures immediately affected by the traumatized tooth.

Treatment for Dental Trauma


X-rays will be taken to determine the extent of the damage to the tooth, particularly if the fracture is suspected to be or is confirmed to run below the gum line. If part of the tooth is broken off, the tooth fragment(s) should be kept hydrated in milk, as there is the possibility that the fragment can be reattached. If there is damage to the pulp chamber, a root canal may be necessary.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

There's a better way to store knocked out teeth than milk until they can be reimplanted. It's called Save-A-Tooth. It has a special cell nourishing fluid called Hank's Balanced Salt Solution in a container with a special suspension net and removable basket. Its approved by the American Dental Association and keeps knocked out teeth ten times longer than milk.

October 2, 2009 - 7:06pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Very cool! Thanks for the tip. That's great if you can't get to a dentist right away. Of course many people won't have that in their cupboards, so milk will still work until you can get to a drug store.

October 3, 2009 - 4:14am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Darlene Oakley)

Yes, you're right about milk being OK but Save-A-Tooth is not available in most pharmacy's. People can get it online at Save-A-Tooth.com. Its one of those items that needs to be purchased ahead of time like ipecac for poisoning. It inexpensive so its not a big deal and lasts for two years.

October 3, 2009 - 12:18pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for clarifying.

October 3, 2009 - 12:47pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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