Just like any other part of the body, the teeth are prone to traumatic injury, which can occur during accidents, sporting events, fights, or even day-to-day activity. Traumatic injury may be something as simple as a chipped tooth (the most common dental injury) or as severe as a knocked-out tooth. Dental restoration has come a long way, and today there are options for people who experience trauma to one or more teeth. If you have suffered a traumatic dental injury, our practice will help you find a Miami endodontist to go over your options.
What is Endodontic Treatment?
Endodontists specialize in treating the inside of the tooth and the teeth roots. The teeth contain tooth “pulp,” a substance that contains, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, and helps the teeth to grow. Once the teeth are fully formed, the tooth does not need the pulp, so it can be removed and replaced should it become infected. This is the basis of endodontic treatment: removing infected tissues inside the teeth and saving the natural tooth.
While damage to the tooth pulp can occur through tooth decay, traumatic dental injuries can also trigger problems within the tooth and the tooth root. This is why a Miami endodontist should take over cases involving trauma and restoration. Even an injury as simple as a chipped or cracked tooth can cause damage to the pulp, so it is important to seek help from an endodontist as soon as you notice any damage to your teeth.
Dental Injury Restoration
Because dental injuries vary so greatly, there is no one specific technique used for surgery and restoration. However, there are different standard methods that are often used, based on the type of injury.
The most common tooth injuries are often not too serious. Simple chips and cracks can usually be fixed by reattaching the broken areas or adding a natural-colored filling to the tooth area to improve the aesthetics of the tooth. Some teeth may require an artificial cap or crown. These sorts of simple fixes can often be performed with or without local anesthesia. However, if there is damage to the tooth pulp or a deep crack/cleft in the injured tooth, it may require root canal therapy (a common and straightforward procedure) or even extraction in severe cases.
Teeth that are knocked out of position or otherwise dislodged need special care and attention. It is possible for an endodontist to stabilize the tooth and perform a root canal procedure to address the damaged pulp of the tooth, which can become infected after a traumatic injury such as dislodged teeth. The root canal should be done as soon as possible after the injury, and a second procedure later on may be needed for a more permanent root canal procedure.
Avulsed Teeth (Knocked Out)
Many people are surprised to learn that all is not lost when the teeth are knocked out completely. Thanks to advanced techniques, an endodontist can sometimes save the tooth if action is taken immediately. If a tooth is knocked out, it should be touched and handled as little as possible, especially near the roots enroute to the dentist. The tooth will be placed back into its socket, and a splint will be placed to hold the tooth in place while it heals. The tooth will need root canal treatment at least once, and possibly twice to help save the tooth. Not all knocked out teeth can be saved, as the chances of survival depend on many different factors.
A root fracture is often treated in the same way as a knocked out tooth: the tooth is stabilized and root canal therapy is used to help save the natural tooth. Generally the closer the fracture is to the end of the root, the better chance there is for saving the tooth. Only an endodontist can suggest the proper treatment plan for root fractures.
Traumatic Dental Injuries in Children
In many ways, traumatic dental injuries in children are less serious than the same injuries in adults. If a primary tooth is dislodged or knocked out, it is typically not necessary (and often ill-advised) to replace it, since the permanent teeth have not yet emerged. However, for dislodged teeth and similar injuries, a root canal may be necessary, and an endodontist should monitor the tooth’s progress on a regular basis until the problem is resolved. Children’s teeth are often able to recover with careful treatment from a specialist, and root canals are often unnecessary, even if permanent teeth have begun to come in. Our Miami endodontists will evaluate each case carefully to determine the best course of treatment.
The recovery from a traumatic dental injury treatment depends largely on the procedure and type of injury performed. Chipped teeth require little to no special care, while dislodged and avulsed teeth require many more precautions, which patients will receive instruction on. These teeth will require ongoing monitoring for the next several years to ensure the body does not reject the tooth and the surrounding areas heal properly.
How Much Will the Procedure Cost?
There are no hard-and-fast rates for traumatic dental injuries, simply because each procedure is unique and multiple procedures may be needed to repair and restore the teeth. Dental insurance will sometimes cover these types of procedures, and it’s important to understand your policy completely.