Traumatic Injuries Q & A

How can an endodontist treat traumatic injuries to the teeth?

Many types of traumatic injuries that involve a blow to the head can result in serious damage to teeth, including fractures and avulsions. Some injuries force a tooth deep into the socket while others can cause teeth be pushed partly out of the socket. Endodontists are trained in special techniques used in treating traumatic injuries that cause damage to the tooth structure, including the central pulp portion and the root and socket.

What is an avulsion?

An avulsed tooth is a tooth that has been knocked out as the result of a trauma like a car accident, sports injury or other blow to the face or head. When a healthy adult tooth is knocked out, it can often be replanted into the socket as long as emergency treatment is sought immediately and the tooth is properly protected until treatment can be performed. First, do not touch the root portion of the tooth, which can be easily damaged. Try to place the tooth back into the socket; if that is not possible, place it inside the mouth between the gum and the cheek or in a glass of milk or water with a tiny pinch of salt added. Immediate care is essential; if the tooth is out of the socket for too long, it will not be able to be replanted.

What are axogenesis and apexification?

These are two procedures used to treat some types of traumatic damage in immature adult teeth where the root structure is still forming or hasn't sealed yet. Amelogenesis promotes continued root development following damage to the central pulp portion of the tooth by placing special medication over the soft pulp tissue. Apexification is a technique that removes unhealthy or damaged pulp and then uses a special material to stimulate the formation of bone tissue at the end of the root. Apexification can leave a tooth vulnerable to fractures in the future, and additional treatment may need to protect and preserve the tooth.

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