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Dental trauma and car accidents: Prompt care is needed

Dental injuries are a common result of car accidents.

If you're unlucky enough to experience a dental injury due to a car accident, it could be as mild as a chipped tooth or two -- or you may be dealing with an entire mouth full of broken and missing teeth plus a fractured jaw.

Whatever injuries you have to your teeth, prompt treatment is important:

-- A chipped tooth or a tooth with a hairline fracture may be fixed fairly easily with a crown or cap, as long as the pulp inside the tooth isn't exposed. If it is, then you'll have to have a root canal to clean out the inside of the tooth and make sure that you don't suffer any additional pain down the road.

-- A dislodged tooth can be a lot more complicated to handle. The tooth can be pushed upward into the gum, even as far as the sinus cavity, or pushed sideways into other teeth. Nerve damage may extend from the dislodged tooth into several other teeth depending on which way the loose tooth traveled. You'll generally need root canals for any injured teeth and the teeth will need to be stabilized (if they can be saved). If the natural teeth can't be saved, your dentist may have to create a bridge of false teeth to replace them.

-- If a tooth is knocked out, your dentist may be able to save it if you can locate the tooth and it is in one piece (assuming that you can get treatment almost immediately). If the tooth can't be located or is shattered, you'll need to discuss replacement options with your dentist.

-- Fractures under the gum line are especially problematic because you may not be able to tell right away if the tooth will survive or not. Your dentist will do what he or she can to stabilize the tooth until it's determined whether or not the tooth will last.

You may be in for a long period of recuperation and a lot of dental work in order to repair the damage after a car accident -- which can also be emotionally traumatic as well.

To make sure that you receive the best dental care possible and are fairly compensated for your injuries, pain and suffering, talk to an attorney today.

Source: AAE.org, "Traumatic Dental Injuries," accessed June 01, 2017

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