by on March 15, 2012

What is Dental Trauma

Dental Trauma refers either to an event that causes an acute dental injury or to the dental injury itself. Depending on the severity, this type of injury always involves one or more teeth. Some dental trauma injuries also involve the tooth socket, which is part of the jawbone, as well as soft issues such as the gums, lips, tongue, and cheek. Teeth can become cracked, chipped, fractured, partly dislodged, knocked out, etc. The tooth socket may become bruised or fractured. Soft tissues can be cut, lacerated, or bruised. A minor Dental Trauma can heal on its own, but severe traumas that are untreated will lead to the loss of the affected tooth/teeth and maybe even to additional oral-maxillofacial injuries and complications.

Impact-causing accidents that deliver blunt-force trauma to the mouth and facial regions are the most common causes of dental trauma. Bad falls, vehicular crashes, collisions with walls, doors, appliances, fixtures, lampposts, pet animals, etc., can all lead to dental injuries that range in severity from slight to severe. Toddlers at 2 to 3 years of age, in particular, can be prone to falls and collision types of accidents. Sports-related activities are also familiar sources of dental injuries, particularly contact sports that involve multiple strikes, throws, and intentional collisions. Physical assaults carried out by people on other people or by large aggressive animals are also common causes of usually severe dental injuries.

The two large incisors on the upper jawbone (maxillary central incisors) are the most trauma-prone teeth, and around 70% of all dental injuries involve either one or both of these two teeth. People who have misaligned teeth (particularly the overbite-type of malocclusion), periodontal disease, decayed teeth, and some other types of dental conditions are also more prone to having trauma-induced dental injures.

A damaged and/or dislodged, bleeding, sensitive, and often painful tooth is the most common and obvious symptom of dental trauma. Pain in the gums around the affected tooth is also very common. As the severity of the injury increases, additional symptoms are manifested. These can include swollen or bleeding soft tissues (tongue, lips, gums, cheeks, etc.) and painful or disfigured (and probably fractured) jawbones or cheek bones.

Teeth, especially the primary (or “milk”) teeth of young children, can become discolored due to a dental trauma. A slight damage to the dental pulp can result in a yellowish or brownish discoloration, while a pinkish tint could indicate bleeding into the dentin. A dark or black-coloured discoloration usually signifies dental pulp necrosis, in which case the tooth has to be either endodontically treated or extracted.

If you have suffered a dental trauma and are in pain please could you call the practice and arrange to see a dentist as soon as possible. If you have an out of hours emergency please contact the Emergency Dental Service.