Sometimes, sadly, teeth that have suffered major trauma cannot be restored or the patient has let the injury go untreated for too long. In these cases, a full tooth extraction may be in order. A dental implant can replace the missing tooth later once the area is able to be prepared for an implant.

If you are ever presented with a situation where a tooth is knocked out, call the dentist immediately for an emergency appointment. The tooth must be handled professionally within the hour for the best chances of saving it. Some new advances in scientific technology have lengthened the time an ejected tooth can still be salvageable; however, most people are not equipped with the supplies when the accident happens. It is best to call a professional immediately and follow his instructions.

If the natural tooth was not able to be restored, the dentist will provide the opportunity to prepare for a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. Steps will be taken to properly let the injured area heal and set a foundation for a strong replacement. Every case is different, but with the aid of ozone, lasers, and strong ceramic zirconium restorations, we can assure you that around here the best work would be done to restore a strong, healthy smile.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

The method of treatment varies from injury to injury and depends on the severity of the damage done. Most injuries are caused by accidents that happen quickly. Major injuries are fairly noticeable because of the bleeding, pain, or visible cracks or chips in the tooth — or maybe it has been knocked out completely. Minor injuries may not be as noticeable at first, but are just as harmful to the tooth. For example, a small crack may occur nearer to the root than the crown and cause damage to the dentin, nerve, pulp, and blood flow to that tooth. Someone may choose to ignore the pain if it is minor enough. But when the tooth starts turning gray or black because it has “died,” then it is probably too late to salvage. If the person had had the tooth closely examined and x-rayed by a dentist, he probably would have been able to avoid the slow decay.

When there is damage to the tooth’s structure, besides preserving what natural structure we can, of equal priority is to protect it from further damage. Ozone gas, of course, works wonderfully for crawling into the microscopic cracks and crannies (whether old or new), completely sterilizing everything inside and out, halting any further decay or infection, and providing an ideal site for strong repairs and healing.

A dental laser is also a useful tool when repairing injured teeth. The laser can be used doubly for sterilization and cleaning out dead tissues that may have accumulated. Shaping soft tissues (gums) and speeding up healing are more of the laser’s useful benefits. To repair cracks and chips, laser- or light-cured composite may be used, and they are much stronger, far less risky, healthier, and better-looking than amalgam. For structure damage, whether caused by poor hygiene/diet or injury, laser-cured composite actually bonds to the tooth itself unlike the silver-mercury amalgam, which will likely crack and separate because of its non-biocompatibility and sensitivity to temperature changes.*

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

*In other words, don’t consume hot things and cold things simultaneously. That’s one fast way to spring cracks and leaks in your amalgam fillings. While you’re at it, make an appointment to just get them replaced completely. It’s bad to keep mercury in your body.

Holistic treatment is especially useful when treating dental injuries. Preserving as much of the natural structure of a tooth as possible is already priority; therefore, it becomes a matter similar to any other day’s objective: restore the tooth with minimal invasion, and allow clean healing so that the tooth’s natural strength and function is reinforced.

Dental injuries can happen in countless ways: car accidents, falls, sports accidents, work accidents, etc. Even rough-housing children commonly get their teeth whacked on, as I’m sure many frazzled mothers have dealt with. Hopefully those children haven’t had their adult teeth come in yet; if not, their baby teeth do not require the kind of work that adult teeth do because they will be falling out anyway. Of course, the area should be monitored over the years by the dentist. Always make sure you’ve got his stamp of approval. Their baby teeth are not as valuable as their adult teeth, but monitoring is definitely advised so any injuries do not impede or interfere with the adult tooth development and emergence.

Unfortunately, matters are usually more urgent and painful when dealing with an injury. It is also unfortunate that, when injured, a patient completely loses control over the condition of his teeth. Suddenly, serious damage has been done, and he needs an emergency appointment to determine the immediate fate of his dental health. It is a big difference from the day-to-day control he has (and probably takes for granted — take heed!) over his oral hygiene regimen that ultimately determines the general condition of his teeth.

The anticipation of injury, while not a very happy thought, is also a good reason to ensure that your dental and general physical health is good so the foundation for a healthy, strong recovery has already been set.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles