Like chipping, fracturing happens both from trauma and biting down on certain hard objects. X-rays may be required to detect these fractures that form in the enamel and dentin layers. Fractured teeth will be more heat sensitive, and may hurt when pressure is applied. Even when they are not visible to the naked eye, these injuries can give bacteria access to the inside of the tooth, resulting in infection. More severe damage may visibly expose the dental pulp (living tissue encased in every tooth) and require root canal therapy to prevent further pain. Cracked or chipped teeth that go untreated can develop infections, leading to more severe complications.
Teeth that are knocked out are avulsed. If immediate action is taken, it may be possible for a dental professional to replant the tooth. When retrieving and handling the tooth, it is important to only touch the crown (the white part at the top) to avoid further damaging the roots. Rinse the tooth briefly (only about 10 seconds) with cold water to remove dirt.
If possible, place the tooth in the socket and bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position. In cases where the tooth cannot be held in the socket, it may be transported in a container filled with milk or other suitable fluid specifically for avulsed teeth. In the absence of these fluids, the tooth can be held in the patient’s cheek or in a container of their saliva to keep it from drying out. Never transport the tooth in water. Seek dental help immediately.
Repairing the Damage
Tooth trauma is painful, and should be treated as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery. If it is not possible to receive treatment fast enough to save the injured tooth or teeth, it is possible to replace teeth with dental implants and bridges. Your overall health is directly impacted by the health of your teeth. When your teeth are injured and untreated, it can have consequences for the rest of your body as well.