Dental trauma is a sudden, risky oral health complication that can lead to a dental emergency. When a patient suffers from dental trauma, the patient's actions can either minimize the damage or dramatically amplify it. Patients with dental trauma should contact our team at Harmony Dental as soon as possible, then take actions to reduce the injuries and risks associated with the dental trauma.
Definition and Symptoms of Dental Trauma
Dental trauma is any tooth injury, typically from an external force, that causes direct damage to the inside of the mouth. Dental trauma can affect the teeth, gums, tongue, and soft tissue such as inside of the cheeks. Symptoms of dental trauma include bleeding inside of the mouth, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, recent malocclusions, and damage to teeth such as cracking, chipping, or splitting.
How to Manage Dental Trauma Until the Dental Appointment
Refrain from using damaged teeth as much as possible, as damaged teeth can worsen and injure the rest of the mouth when used. Applying cold compresses to the outside of the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes a day can lessen swelling associated with the dental injury. Focus on eating soft foods or a liquid diet until the dental trauma is healed. Keep soft tissues clean with gentle oral care, being mindful to not aggravate the dental trauma. Call 911 immediately if the dental trauma interferes with normal breathing.
How to Respond to a Knocked Out Tooth
When dental trauma knocks a tooth out of a patient's mouth, recover as much of the tooth as possible. Clean the dislodged tooth by rinsing it with cold water. If the removed tooth is in one piece, attempt to place the tooth back into the socket. Contact us immediately for a dental emergency appointment, and keep the tooth moist with milk, salt water, or the patient's saliva; do not use tap water to keep the affected tooth wet.
How Our Team Treats Dental Trauma
After diagnosing a patient's dental trauma and formulating a treatment plan, our team focuses on repairing the damage and relieving the patient's pain. Our professionals will frequently prescribe medicine to prevent infections and manage pain. Stitches will close significant wounds that cannot heal on their own. We recommend root canals for teeth whose roots are damaged by dental trauma; less severe tooth damage can be addressed with procedures such as dental bonding or applying a crown. Teeth that cannot be restored will need to be replaced; our team will discuss options such as dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures to prevent further damage to the mouth, jaw bone, and face. Extreme dental trauma may require dental surgery to fix damage to the patient's teeth and bones.
How patients react to dental trauma is vital to properly repairing or mitigating the damage. Patients with severe dental injuries that involve breathing difficulty or bleeding that does not subside should head to the nearest emergency room. For any other variation of dental trauma, patients could contact our team at Harmony Dental by calling (541) 246-3250. We will schedule a dental emergency appointment and provide instructions on how to keep the patient's mouth safe until the scheduled appointment time.