Tooth Trauma (Part II of IV)

If a front tooth has been chipped in a fall, and there is no telltale red dot in the center of the tooth indicating an exposure of the nerve, then immediate treatment is not necessary. It’s likely that the tooth would be very sensitive to cold, so cool liquids are best to be avoided. The tooth could also be painful to chew on. It is usually best to wait until your dental visit to rule out root fractures before attempting to chew on a traumatically chipped tooth. The teeth could also ache so a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties would be most helpful. Ibuprofen tends to work the best. Over-the-counter preparations come in 200mg tablets, so an adult could take as many as four tablets, for a total of 800mg per dose to stay comfortable. Once at the dental office, the dentist will x-ray the teeth, check for root fractures, and check for loose or displaced teeth.

X-ray of Root Fractures

If the root is fractured, the tooth may or may not need to be removed. It depends on where the fracture is. The closer to the end of the root, the better the chance that the tooth could be saved. If there are any teeth that are loose, they may need to be splinted in place. This would be just like placing a cast on a broken arm to allow for undisturbed healing.

Tooth Trauma (Part I of IV)

Whenever a tooth is injured in a fall, there are certain steps that one must take. First and foremost, a head injury must be ruled out. When one has fallen or received a blow to the mouth, it is not uncommon to also incur trauma to the head. Especially when a tooth has been chipped and there is blood in the mouth, the focus of attention can be on the oral cavity. If there are any symptoms such as dizziness or loss of consciousness, a physician should be consulted. Once head injury has been ruled out, then the focus can be placed on the mouth. If a front tooth was chipped, look for a small red dot toward the center of the tooth.

Exposed nerve/ "red dot" after trauma

This should be checked after any blood has been rinsed away. The red dot is the tooth’s nerve. If it is exposed, there is a fairly high likelihood that it would need root canal treatment. A dentist should be consulted as soon as possible in that situation. The next thing to look at is to see if any teeth are loose or displaced. Again, if either of those conditions are present, a call to your dentist would be in order. Otherwise, it would be best to see your dentist at your earliest convenience so that he can x-ray the tooth to make sure that there are no fractures under the gums.