The occurrence of distressing injuries in the oral region encompasses a wide spectrum, including damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues, cuts in and around the mouth, and even more intricate and severe harm to the facial bones and soft tissues. These types of injuries frequently stem from direct physical impact on the teeth, mouth, or face, which can arise from various scenarios such as falls, sports or occupational mishaps, motor vehicle collisions, or acts of aggression.
Broken, chipped, or cracked teeth
It is not uncommon for a tooth to experience damage in the form of a chip, crack, or fracture. This can occur due to various reasons, such as biting down on hard objects like ice, chewing on non-food items like pencils, or suffering physical trauma like a direct blow to the face or mouth. The extent of the damage can vary greatly, ranging from minor cosmetic issues like craze lines or small chips in the dental enamel, to more severe fractures that may even involve the root or result in a split tooth. The appropriate treatment for a cracked or fractured tooth depends on the severity of the damage. In some cases, a simple restoration like a filling or crown may suffice, while other cases may require a combination of a root canal procedure and a restoration. In more extensive cases, tooth extraction might be necessary.
Dentoalveolar injuries refer to traumatic injuries involving the teeth and the bone surrounding the teeth. These injuries can include teeth that have been dislodged or moved partially out of their sockets, with or without a segment of the adjacent bone, or an avulsion, which means that a tooth has been completely “knocked out” of its socket. In these situations, immediate dental care to reposition and stabilize the involved teeth and/or put the bone back into the correct anatomical positions is required. Beyond the routine post op care to check for tissue healing, the involved teeth are typically followed for a longer period of time to check for subsequent nerve involvement or other issues that may require additional care.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries in and around the oral cavity include lacerations within the mouth (intra-oral) and facial lacerations. If possible clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. For puncture wounds, tissue tears, and lacerations to the lips, cheeks, tongue or any other tissues in and around the oral cavity, prompt emergency care is required.
Dislocated or Fractured Jaw
Facial trauma that has resulted in a suspected dislocation or jaw fracture requires immediate care as problems with eating and breathing can ensue. Prompt care can minimize complications and accelerate healing. For a fractured jaw, treatment depends upon the extent of the injuries. While some clean breaks may only require immobilization, multiple fractures of the jawbone or displaced breaks involve more complex surgical care. If on the other hand the jaw has been dislocated as a result of a traumatic incident or opening the mouth too widely, it will need to be manipulated back into the correct position. For people who have had more than one dislocation, surgery may be needed to reduce the risk of further dislocations.