Although they seem as hard as a rock, teeth can also get injured. When this happens, it is better to not give way to other complications.
By Carmenza Macías, Odontologist with Coomeva Medicina Prepagada.
“A 9 year-old girl went down a water slide and when she got to the bottom of it she hit her teeth. One of her tooth fell off and into the pool”. Her mother kept it in milk for six hours. A dentist tried to reattach it, but due to how long they had waited to perform the procedure, when she was 15 she suffered from a dental root resorption, and at 21 she had to get an implant.
Fractured teeth, luxated teeth (loose teeth), teeth displaced from their socket or inside the socket, or teeth with discolorations. Such are the cases that may occur. Carmenza Macías, a dentist specialized in odontopediatrics, affirmed that this situation is more recurrent in male teenagers and adults, mostly due to sports injuries, traffic accidents, and violent events.
Children are also prone to these types of situations, as they have a tendency to fall while they learn how to walk, and they like to participate in games that require running and jumping.
Tooth fractures may vary, they can be small and take place at the crown, either on the enamel or the dentin. These situations can be restored using resin. When the tooth is chipped, it mustn’t be touched. You should also avoid eating hot or cold foods, and see a dentist immediately.
When the fracture compromises the nerve, a root canal must be performed (the nerve is removed, the conduit is cleaned and filled with a material), and then the crown is restored using resin or, depending on the size of the fracture, using a complete crown.
Teeth can also change color (yellow, brown, gray or black). According to Dr. Macias, discoloration occurs when the nerve dies because of trauma, and the crown is stained with blood pigments. Thus, once you finish your treatment, you must undergo a whitening and restoration treatment.
When the fracture takes place at the root, in general the tooth cannot be restored. A tooth extraction will be performed (the tooth is removed), and an implant will be placed.
Teenage and adult males are more prone to suffering tooth injuries due to sports practices, traffic accidents and violent events.
When a tooth is excessively loose, the dentist will conduct a dental splinting (the tooth is attached to the adjoining teeth with resin for two weeks). The patient must be given special care in order to protect the tooth, including a soft diet, avoiding shutting their mouth too tightly, avoiding any trauma or pushing the tooth with their tongue.
Another situation that may occur is that the tooth that suffered the trauma can be completely pushed into the socket. In these cases, you must wait for the tooth to progressively come out on its own. The opposite can also happen, where the tooth comes completely out of the socket. In this case, Macias recommends that you wash it using a sterile solution, and that you attempt to put the tooth back in the socket immediately. If you are unable to perform said maneuver, insert the tooth in a glass of milk or under the mother’s tongue, in the case of small children, in order to keep it moist with saliva and thus keep the cells of the root alive while you arrive to the dentist’s office so that they can re-implant it (put the tooth back in the socket).
If the tooth is lost and cannot be re attached (maximum 2 hours after the incident), an implant will be necessary.
Finally, Carmenza Macías stated that when teeth are temporary (baby teeth) and they’re injured, they may be pushed further into the socket. This can cause damage to the permanent or definitive teeth that are being formed, or can displace them and alter their calcification. As a result, permanent teeth can come out in a bad position or with defects in their shape.
- People who practice contact sports (shock) must use mouthguards.
- Avoid fights.
- Avoid eating hard foods.
- Always use a seat belt.
- Seniors should use non-skid shoes in order to avoid falling.
- Adults should ask children to be careful when they’re running.
- Fractured teeth:
The main causes are jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and trauma.
- Tooth discoloration:
Causes include congenital disease, environmental factors and infections.