Tips to Prevent Tooth Loss after Oral Injury

An illustration of a crown and dental implantThe steps you take after an oral injury are essential to protecting oral health. Seeking emergency dental treatment immediately after an oral injury may mean the difference between losing or saving a tooth. Fortunately, dental damage and tooth loss caused by oral injuries can be treated with restorative dentistry procedures for improved oral health and confidence. By taking fast action after an oral injury, you may be able to prevent tooth loss. Discover tips to protect your smile from tooth loss and oral injury in this overview from Wilmington, DE dentists Jeffrey J. Emmi and Laura Dougherty.

The Causes of Oral Injuries

Some oral injuries, specifically sports-related injuries, may be prevented by wearing a mouth guard, but in most cases, oral injuries occur unexpectedly and can range from mild to severe. Some common causes of oral injuries include:

  • A car or motorcycle accident
  • Bicycle, skateboarding, or rollerblading accident
  • An injury to the face  
  • Falling
  • Horseplay
  • Biting a hard object
  • Using the teeth as tools
  • Sports-related injury

Preventing Tooth Loss after an Oral Injury

It's important to schedule a dental exam as soon as possible following an oral injury. Even if the teeth appear fine, damage may have occurred beneath the gum line at the roots. Trauma to the tooth roots can cause a tooth to fall out days or weeks after an injury. This is because trauma to the roots damages the nerves, responsible for regulating tooth sensitivity, and the blood vessels, which nourish the tooth. When these tissues become damaged, the tooth may turn gray or black and die, eventually falling out.

When oral injury has caused a tooth to become loose in its socket or to fall out completely, seeing a dentist immediately is of utmost importance and an emergency dental visit should be scheduled. Taking the right steps in the time leading up to an emergency dental appointment can help save a tooth from permanent loss. These steps include:

  • Locate the tooth if its fallen out
  • Once located, lift the tooth by the crown and avoid touching the roots
  • Gently rinse the tooth in milk or a mixture of salt and water
  • Do not dry the tooth after rinsing, instead make sure the tooth does not dry out
  • Gently place the tooth back into the empty gum socket
  • Keep the tooth in place by applying even pressure on the tooth by biting down on clean gauze or soft cloth
  • Seek emergency dental treatment as soon as possible

Treatments for Oral Injury

Taking immediate action after an oral injury can help prevent tooth loss and protect oral health. In the unfortunate circumstance that a tooth is lost or damaged, there are many treatments available to restore the smile, including:

  • Porcelain veneers and dental bonding to repair minor chips and fractures
  • Dental crowns to treat severe chips and fractures
  • Dental implants for permanent replacement of one or more missing teeth
  • Dental bridges or dentures for non-surgical replacement of missing teeth

Explore Your Treatment Options

For more tips on protecting your smile after oral injury, or to discuss your treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Smiles Solutions by Emmi Dental Associates