I took a knee to the face about 12 hours ago, immediately it felt like my right front tooth was crooked or something. I walked to a mirror the first chance i got and everything looked fine except for a little blood from my gum and the weird numb feeling i had in my tooth. If i put any kind of pressure on the tooth it hurts in the gum area but the tooth itself is not sensative to cold. What is wrong with my tooth and what can be done about it? If my tooth is “dead” can it be fixed and still look normal.?
– Kaito from Okinawa, Japan
When you suffer a traumatic injury to your teeth, what you do depends on the condition of your teeth. But to answer your basic question, yes, in almost all cases the teeth can be saved and any damage to their health or their appearance can be treated. If the teeth are very loose, the roots may be broken in such a way that the teeth can’t be saved, but in all other cases, they should be able to be saved. Even a tooth that is knocked out, if it is put back in soon enough, it can heal.
Here are some basic guidelines for traumatic injuries to teeth:
If the tooth is moved out of its normal position, you want to get it moved back as soon as possible, hopefully that day, or at least in the first couple of days. If you can’t do this yourself, you can get a dentist to do it.
If the tooth is loose, it needs to be stabilized. This will need to be done by a dentist.
The roots of the teeth need to be x-rayed with an x-ray that will have enough detail to be able to show the condition of the periodontal ligament that holds the tooth in your jawbone. If no broken roots or other injuries are visible on the x-ray, there should be follow-up x-rays about six months later. Sometimes these injuries cause the blood vessel that goes to the inside of the tooth to be severed. If that happens, the tissue inside the tooth will die and will need root canal treatment. This type of injury may not show any signs immediately after the trauma, but if enough time lapses, the tooth will show signs of being infected later.
If there is no other injury and the tooth remains healthy, the tooth may still turn darker over a period of months or years after the injury. Sometimes the teeth will respond to trauma like this by building up extra dentin inside the tooth, which will make the tooth look darker. This can be treated with direct bonding or a porcelain veneer over the tooth.
This blog sponsored by Colorado Springs emergency dentist Dr. Joseph Rota.