If you fall or become injured during a sporting event and injure one of your teeth, then you may not think about seeing your dentist right away. This is the case if the tooth does not immediately seem mobile. An immediate appointment with your dentist is necessary so that cracks and chips can be located and treated. The professional will also schedule a follow up appointment so that potentially harmful damage can be evaluated after the soft tissues around the tooth start to heal. Complication can occur as a result of this damage. Keep reading to learn about dental trauma complications and what your dentist will do about it.
Complication #1 - Pulpal Necrosis
What is It?
The teeth are living structures in the mouth that contain a great deal of tissues underneath a protective layer of tooth dentin, cementum, and enamel. The dental nerve and the pulp make up the tissues within the teeth. These tissues require blood like all of the other living cells of the body. The blood is supplied through small capillaries and the fluids provide the teeth with oxygen and nutrients. The small nature of the capillaries means they can be damaged quite easily when trauma occurs to one of the teeth.
When the dental capillaries are damaged, then blood flow is reduced significantly. The dental pulp may then start to die and necrosis occurs within the tooth. It can take some time for the dental pulp to deteriorate and you will feel some pain when this starts to happen. Your damaged tooth may start to darken as well.
What Will Your Dentist Do?
If you feel pain coming from your damaged tooth, then your dentist will complete a pulp sensitivity or pulp vitality test. During the test, the dental professional will use a special tool that will briefly encase the damaged tooth. Electric current and extreme temperatures are forced across the dental enamel. You will be asked about pain and other negative sensations that come from the tooth when the stimuli is introduced.
If the tooth produces a good deal of pain and discomfort during the pulp test, then this will indicate that the tissues within the tooth have started to deteriorate significantly. A root canal procedure will be scheduled. This will allow the dentist to remove the necrotic pulp and nerve, and filling materials will be secured inside the space of the tooth.
Complication #2 - Dental Ankylosis
What Is It?
Your teeth are secured to your jaw bone so that teeth are immovable when pressure and stress are placed against the teeth. The attachment occurs with tight bundles of collagen tissues called the periodontal ligament. The ligament lines the entire surface of the tooth underneath the gum line. This helps to create a tight barrier between the tooth and the jaw bone.
Sometimes, the ligament tissues become damaged when trauma occurs. When this happens, the tooth will sit directly against the jaw bone and this is called ankylosis. The minerals within the tooth will then be replaced slowly with bone matter. Also, the gums may begin to recede around the tooth.
What Will Your Dentist Do?
Your dentist will note ankylosis through the examination of x-ray images. If the condition is seen, then your dentist will likely keep an eye on the tooth for the next several years. The dentist will look for tooth movement or displacement as minerals are replaced by bone.
If the condition becomes severe or if tissues recede to the point that the tooth root is exposed, then treatment will be supplied. The tooth may be loosened, repositioned, and braced. Also, gum grafting may be completed to restore the gum line above the tooth. In some cases, extraction may be required. Your dentist will then offer to place a bridge, dental implant, or partial denture to replace the missing tooth.
If one of your teeth is accidentally injured, then you should see a dentist right away so that immediate treatment can be provided if there is a need. Your dentist will also likely schedule a follow up appointment so that complications like pulp necrosis and dental ankylosis can be evaluated and treated.