It can happen in an instant: car crash, slip and fall, or an accidental bump of any kind. Any time you experience trauma to the mouth where teeth are impacted, you run the risk of possible tooth loss. But if you sustain an injury like this, a visit to the dentist to survey any damage can reveal what has happened and treated appropriately.
What many people don’t realize is even if a tooth gets knocked out, time is of the essence and there is a possibility of saving that tooth. If you or someone in attendance with you can put the tooth back and hold it in place, an emergency visit to the dentist is in order. Knowing your dentist’s daytime contact information and after hours emergency number can literally mean the difference between saving a tooth and losing it. Immediate attention is necessary, and action within one hour of the incident will offer the best chance for saving the tooth.
Trauma to a tooth very often does damage to the nerve. If this occurs, removing the contents of the tooth’s root canals is often the only option to retaining the tooth. Once a permanent tooth erupts, the nerve is no longer essential for the tooth’s survival. Removing the nerve, pulp, blood, (and infection, if present) is done through endodontic therapy … also known as a root canal.
During a root canal, the dentist will take an x-ray to determine the location and number of the damaged tooth’s roots. It is critical that all root canals are treated for a successful procedure. Usually the patient is anesthetized, the tooth is cordoned off and treatment can commence.
An access point is then drilled into the tooth. An instrument known as an endodontic file is attached to a dental hand piece allowing the dentist to remove the contents of the canals. Once assured all canals are clear, they are flushed, and treated with antibiotics (if needed). The access point must be sealed. In some instances this can be done right away. But very often a dental crown is the best way to finalize root canal therapy; from crown prep to final restoration seat is usually about two weeks.
Saving a tooth is always a better option than the alternative. Our dentist, Dr. Philip Kozlow, can provide the assistance needed when trauma occurs.