Dental avulsion occurs when a tooth is forcibly torn out of the gum line causing damage to dental structure and gum tissue. A child or adult can experience a knocked out tooth due to an accident or injury. A medical emergency such as concussion or bleeding may be associated with dental trauma.
In sporting activities such as boxing or rugby dental avulsion may happen if the mouth is injured during physical contact. For this reason, it is common for sports players to wear dental mouth guards or shields to protect their teeth and gums from damage.
Treating Dental Avulsion
Dental avulsion is different to a loose or dislodged tooth because the tooth structure is either forcibly knocked out or may be partially detached. If partial detachment occurs the tooth may hang from a dental nerve, and preserving this nerve is important for full recovery. Treatment for dental avulsion or detachment differs from treatment for loose or dislodged teeth. Dentists assess a person's oral condition to identify the type of oral trauma and appropriate treatment.
Childhood Dental Avulsion
Similarly, treatment for child dental avulsion where milk teeth fall out differs from adult dental avulsion. Children's milk teeth are in the process of being replaced by developing adult teeth, whereas adults already have their set of permanent adult teeth.
With children, if dental avulsion occurs prematurely due to injury, it may be better to simply treat the painful symptoms and allow the tooth socket to heal as the adult tooth develops in the avulsed tooth's place.
Adult Dental Avulsion
Seeking early dental treatment for tooth avulsion can help save the tooth and allow for healthy recovery. Individuals suffering from dental trauma where one or more teeth is knocked out or detached can do the following to preserve structure:
- Save the detached tooth or tooth parts
- Contact an emergency dentist or local dentist as soon as possible after the injury; preferably within an hour
- Hold the tooth at the crown and not the root to protect it from further trauma
- Do not pull a tooth out that is hanging from a dental nerve
- Gently hold an avulsed tooth in place within the socket by biting down on cotton until emergency treatment may be received
- Keep a knocked out tooth covered in milk or in the cheek of the mouth
Dental trauma such as tooth avulsion can cause bleeding from the tooth socket. Placing cotton wool over the socket can help to absorb the blood before proper dental care is sought.
Dentistry Procedures for Dental Avulsion
A dentist may be able to save an avulsed tooth if an individual has acted to preserve the tooth and sought immediate dental care. There may be the possibility of re-implanting the avulsed tooth back in the socket to regenerate tooth structure. The sooner dental care is received the better the likelihood of dental recovery with less extensive treatment.
When an individual with an avulsed tooth arrives for emergency dental care, the mouth is X-rayed to determine the extent of oral trauma. The avulsed tooth is re-inserted in the tooth socket and a dental splint may be used to position the avulsed tooth in place. Using a splint allows the tooth to re-align correctly with other tooth structures.
A dental splint facilitates the avulsed tooth's growth back into its straight position. Some individuals can find dental splint treatment uncomfortable but it does enable preservation of existing tooth structure.
Dental Avulsion and Missing Teeth Replacement
Where a tooth is lost or not able to be saved, or treatment is not sought in a timely manner, the missing tooth may leave a gap in the smile.
Although some individuals opt to live with the missing tooth, gaps have the potential to cause improper bite, misaligned teeth and other health conditions. Some people suffer with lack of confidence due to one or more missing teeth, and tooth gaps may also shrink facial volume giving a tired, aged look.
Dental treatments for missing teeth aim to provide healthy oral function and enhanced facial appearance. Patients have a range of treatments to choose from, including:
- Dental implants to serve as substitute tooth roots
- Artificial tooth restorations (crowns, bridges or dentures)
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are inserted into the tooth socket and soon fuse with natural bone structure for stable support.
Crowns, bridges or dentures may be secured with dental implants for better retention. Patients often choose implant-supported replacement teeth for natural-feeling teeth. However, there are options in fixed and removable dentures to suit patient needs.
Having a full set of teeth through artificial dental replacement allows individuals to enjoy meals, conversation and a sense of well-being. Although dental implants are an increasingly popular option to secure false teeth, individuals have choices in bridge to crown attachment and removable dentures.
Accessing Treatment for Dental Avulsion
Our clinic provides 24 hour emergency dental care for tooth avulsion. We offer individuals and families appointments to suit their busy schedules. Get in touch with us by phone or email and we can book an appointment.