Traumatic Injuries to the Mouth
Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. Dr. Gerard, Dr. Harmon, Dr. Oertel 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 implanted.
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 left untreated, many different complications can arise. These complications can include but are not limited to: Infection of the tooth, root system or surrounding tissue, inadequate hygiene due to an inability to properly clean the dislodged tooth and the gums, and loss of the tooth.
If an injury causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of your mouth, it is important that you are treated immediately! If this happens to you, keep the tooth moist. If possible, put it back into the socket. A tooth can be saved if it remains moist. You can even put the tooth in milk or a glass of water (add a pinch of salt.) Drs. Gerard, Harmon or Oertel 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.
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.
Regenerative Endodontic Procedures
This exciting new procedure allows for the continued growth of a root end and root wall thickness after the death of a pulp. This is a multi-visit procedure in which the dentist will disinfect the root canal space and place biologic materials into the tooth to allow for continued growth.
With the advent of regenerative endodontic procedures, apexification is not routinely performed. In the case apexification is indicated, 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.