When a tooth is knocked out of the mouth it may be fully disconnected from the socket or partially dislodged so that the damaged tooth is left hanging from the root or dental nerve. Dental avulsion and tooth dislodgement often occur during contact sports, rigorous physical activity and unforeseen accidents.
Immediate emergency dental care should be sought for partial tooth dislodgement. This is so the tooth can be reinserted and restored to prevent infection and tooth decay, and also to reinforce the tooth structure for healthy healing and dental function. Leaving the condition untreated may result in further damage to the dislodged tooth and other dental structures. There can also be subsequent problems related to infection, dental decay and gum disease.
Dentists often recommend wearing a mouth guard during sports, physical activity involving physical contact and at night if teeth grinding is present. However, if tooth injury occurs by accident a tooth can dislodge without warning.
Children experience partially dislodged milk teeth as their permanent teeth develop. They may also experience dislodgement with newly developed permanent teeth due to oral injury. Having milk teeth monitored and assessed by a dentist helps children to receive dental care for healthy teeth development. Seeking immediate emergency dental care for children with oral injuries will restore tooth structure for healthy oral function.
When a tooth becomes dislodged or partially avulsed it is distressing. Receiving dental care as soon as possible from an emergency dentist relieves pain, restores dental function and helps to alleviate distress.
Types of Partial Tooth Dislodgement
There are two main ways in which teeth can become partially dislodged, including:
- Tooth loosens from the jaw bone
- Tooth forced into the gum tissue
Both conditions are painful and can require different dental treatments in order to alleviate discomfort and restore the damaged tooth. In some cases, emergency dentists are able to treat both conditions with similar dental procedures. Leaving the problem untreated is detrimental to oral and overall health.
Complications of a Partial Dislodged Tooth
Partial tooth dislodgement ranges from mild to severe. It can include extensive damage to the tooth blood vessels and nerves located within the inner tooth pulp. Infection may set in requiring root canal treatment to restore the tooth root and eliminate infection.
However, the tooth root may need to be replaced by artificial dental implants before a tooth restoration is fitted to replace the missing tooth. Root canal treatment may be used to remove infection from dental pulp before the tooth is restored.
If left untreated an abscess can develop within or around the tooth socket. This can lead to infection spreading to other tooth root canals causing pain and tooth loss. Other health conditions such as heart disease and poor immunity may also result.
Accessing Dental Care for Tooth Dislodgement
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Contacting an emergency dentist as early as possible once the tooth is dislodged helps to prevent complications arising and aids in preserving existing tooth structure. If head injury or concussion is likely the priority is emergency medical attention, which can then be followed by emergency dental care for the oral trauma.
Typically, patients are given painkillers such as Ibuprofen by the emergency dentist to relieve discomfort. An ice-pack can be applied to the dental or facial injury to reduce bruising and swelling. The temptation to touch the tooth and wiggle it should be avoided as this can cause further dental damage and tooth loss.
The emergency dentist will assess oral condition and severity of the dislodged tooth. The tooth is cleaned and treated to prevent infection developing. A local anaesthetic can be provided for pain-free treatment. The tooth socket is prepared for the tooth to be re-planted or restored where appropriate, and a dental splint is used to keep the inserted tooth in place.
The emergency treatment enables the tooth to re-grow into position as the gum tissue heals. The dental splint keeps the tooth in its proper position and alignment for healthy recovery. Dental splints do not impact bite function.
The emergency dentist may recommend further dental treatment such as orthodontic following recovery from emergency dental care.
Dental treatment can save a partially dislodged tooth if emergency dental care is sought immediately after the tooth becomes dislodged. By not touching and moving the partially dislodged tooth, the dentist can often re-insert it back into the tooth socket with a dental splint. This enables the tooth to grow back into its normal position.
If a tooth cannot be saved and needs extraction, the missing tooth can be replaced by tooth restorations, such as a bridge, crowns or dental implants. Individuals have options in replacing missing teeth to preserve their smile.
Partial tooth dislodgement can be prevented by wearing a mouth guard during sports or physical activity. Attending regular dental check-ups also allows dentists to monitor for early signs of tooth decay, infection and gum disease that may result in bone loss and tooth dislodgement. They can also provide dental treatment before the condition develops.
Children should attend dental appointments as their milk teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth. Doing so helps dentists to address any early signs of abnormal dental structure for treatment.