Traumatic Injuries to the Mouth
Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. This is called intrusion and almost always requires root canal treatment. Trauma can also cause teeth to be moved inward or outward from their original position. This is called luxation and often requires root canal treament. Dr. Michelle Ellingsen, Dr. Lisa Ellingsen or your general dentist may reposition and stabilize your tooth. Root canal treatment is usually started within a few weeks of the injury and a medication, such as calcium hydroxide, will be placed inside the tooth. Eventually, a permanent root canal filling will be placed.
Some teeth that have been traumatized will bleed on the inside causing the tooth to darken. Once root canal treatment is completed, internal bleaching can be done to lighten the tooth back to its natural color.
Sometimes a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket. Again, your endodontist or general dentist may reposition and stabilize your tooth. If the pulp remains healthy, then no other treatment is necessary. Yet, if the pulp becomes damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be required.
If an injury causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of your mouth, it is important that you are treated immediately! Timing is critical! If this happens to you, as soon as possible put it back into the socket. If it cannot be replaced, put the tooth in milk and see you dentist. It must remain moist. Drs. Michelle Ellingsen or Lisa Ellingsen may start root canal treatment based upon the stage of root development. The length of time the tooth was out of your mouth and the way the tooth was stored, may influence the type of treatment you receive and will affect the long term prognosis for the tooth.
Tooth Injuries in Children
An injured immature tooth may need one of the following procedures to improve the chances of saving the tooth:
This procedure encourages the root to continue development as the pulp is healed. Soft tissue is covered with medication to encourage growth. The tip of the root (apex) will continue to close as the child gets older. In turn, the walls of the root canal will thicken. If the pulp heals, no additional treatment will be necessary. The more mature the root becomes, the better the chance to save the tooth.
In this case, the unhealthy pulp is removed. The doctors place medication into the root to help a hard tissue form near the root tip. This hardened tissue provides a barrier for the root canal filling. At this point, the root canal walls will not continue to develop, making the tooth susceptible to fractures. So it is important to have the tooth properly restored by your dentist.