Accident-Related Traumatic Dental Injuries: What You Need to Know

Personal Injury Lawyer

When a body is subjected to forces that abruptly push it in another direction during a motor vehicle accident, dental injuries are one of many types of damages that could occur. Many thousands of motorists suffer some kind of traumatic dental injury from a traffic accident annually.

Kinds of Traumatic Dental Injuries

Chipped or Fractured Teeth

If the crown of a tooth is chipped or fractured, it can likely be repaired either by reattaching the broken piece or by placing a tooth-colored composite filling in its place. If a substantial part of the tooth crown is broken off, restoring it may require an artificial crown.

When the sensitive inner pulp is exposed or damaged after fracturing the crown of the tooth, a root canal procedure may be necessary. These injuries require special dental attention, and you should seek help from a dental professional as soon as possible.

Fracture injuries that affect the back teeth may require root canal treatment and a dental crown to restore function of the tooth, particularly if the crack extends into the root. More severely injured split teeth may require removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.

Dislodged (Luxated) Teeth

During an accident, a tooth may be pushed sideways, forward, backward, or into its own socket. A dentist can reposition and stabilize the tooth. Root canal treatment may be needed for permanent teeth that have been luxated and should be started within several days of the injury. Once treatment is completed and deemed successful a permanent root canal filling or crown will be positioned in place at a later time.

Knocked Out (Avulsed) Teeth

If teeth are completely knocked out of the mouth, an accident victim should see a dentist immediately. This is an emergency situation and time is of the essence. If treatment is performed quickly, preferably within 30 minutes of the tooth being knocked from its socket, there is an opportunity to save the tooth.

A knocked-out tooth should be handled carefully—pick it up by the crown and don’t touch the root surface. A dentist can evaluate the viability of the tooth, place it back in its socket if it is deemed viable, and examine the accident victim for any other dental and facial injuries. Depending on the length of time the tooth was out of the victim’s mouth, and how it was stored prior to receiving treatment, it might be necessary to turn to options for artificial tooth replacement.

Root Fractures

At times, an accident-induced traumatic injury to a tooth may result in a horizontal root fracture. The location of the split will likely determine the long-term health of the tooth. The closer a fracture is to the tip of the root, the better the chances of success and long-term prognosis. Fractures closer to the gum line are considered more severe. Stabilization with a splint may be required while the tooth heals.

If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic dental injury due to a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for dental expenses, lost wages, and more from a personal injury lawsuit. Schedule an appointment with a dentist in San Clemente, CA today, and be sure to tell the dental professional that your injuries are accident-related.



Thanks to John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into orthodontics and accident related dental injuries.