Among the many injuries a car accident victim is likely to sustain, dental injuries tend to be somewhat overlooked. Nonetheless, you can’t help but recognize dental pain as among the most severe pains the body can handle.
We recently spoke with Chris Klotz, of Stevenson Klotz, a Pensacola personal injury attorney, and discussed the most common dental injuries he sees in car accident cases.
Let’s take a look at these and some of the signs of dental injury you should look out for after getting involved in a car accident.
The Types: Dental Injuries You Could Sustain In a Car Crash
After a car accident, the type of dental injury suffered by the victim may depend on various factors. They could be direct or indirect depending on the kind and amount of impact experienced in the crash. Indirect injuries occur when the teeth crush against each other as the mouth is forced to close up unnaturally. On the other hand, direct injuries result from the direct impact of objects against the mouth. In both cases, various kinds of teeth damage may result, including the following:
- Luxated Tooth – One or several teeth become loosened but still attached to the gum
- Avulsed Tooth – One or several teeth could be knocked out of the gingiva or gums
- Fractured Tooth – Here, the affected teeth break, with the lower part remaining attached to the gum
In all of these cases, you need to see a dentist As soon as you can after the accident. They are all obvious signs of a dental injury that could be worse than meets the eye.
What Are Common Causes of Dental Injuries in Car Accidents?
As we’ve seen above, some dental injuries are direct, whereas others are indirect. While none is better than the other in terms of pain and severity, understanding how they occur can help improve dental safety in case of an accident. The best you can do as a driver is to focus on the road and drive defensively at all times.
It helps protect your safety as well as that of your passengers and other road users. Nevertheless, you will want to avoid speeding unnecessarily and watch out for these popular causes of dental injury in car accidents.
- Distracted driving (such as texting while driving)
- Blind spots and rear-end collisions
- Not wearing seat belts
The dental injury causes are more or less similar to what causes most auto accidents.
Dental Injury Signs to Watch Out for
So, how do you tell that you need a dental examination or consultation after a car accident? Here are some signs you should look out for.
For starters, pain is a universal symptom in almost all dental injuries. It often comes in the form of different types of toothache, each with peculiar characteristics. Sometimes it could be accompanied by pain in the gums, jaw, or even headaches. Your general physician should advise you accordingly in the case of the latter, but a toothache will definitely need a dentist’s visit.
2. Tooth Damage
As earlier mentioned, tooth damage is a common dental injury in car accidents. It is actually among the most obvious signs you need a dentist, to be specific. If one or more of your teeth are chipped, fractured, or broken, make sure to see a dentist ASAP. The appropriate treatment will be determined by the extent of damage, and how many teeth are affected. Common treatments may include:
- Dental crowns or veneers for fractured enamel
- Root canal for damage in inner layers of the teeth
3. Loosened Teeth
While the teeth are rooted deep into the jaw, the upper parts are kept in place by the gum tissue. Loose teeth are a common sign of dental injury in car crashes. Once you visit the dentist, they are likely to recommend a treatment called tooth splinting. It involves attaching the loosed tooth to stronger unaffected teeth alongside a stabilizer to help the ligaments heal.
4. Tooth Loss
If you find yourself with one or several missing teeth after a car accident, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit a dentist. This is especially common in cases of direct dental injury where your mouth or teeth crash into a solid surface. Your dentist is likely to recommend artificial teeth alongside dental implants in this case. Dental implants are metallic devices installed in your jawbone to keep synthetic teeth in place. Apart from dental implants, dentures and bridges are also common choices in treating tooth loss.
5. Impaired Jaw
The jaw is a crucial part of your dental infrastructure. When involved in a car crash, jaw impairment issues are not uncommon. Those who suffer from traumatic head injuries are at a higher risk of developing temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), which is basically a form of jaw impairment. If you experience jaw pain, chewing difficulty, or clicking sounds in the jaw joint, your next stop should be at the dentist’s office.
In some patients, earache and vertigo are also common symptoms associated with dental trauma after the car crash. This is because injury to the jaw may also affect certain parts of the ear, leading to hearing difficulty and challenges maintaining balance.
Whenever you’re involved in any car accident, it is best to speak to an injury lawyer as soon as you can. This is, of course, after or while seeking medical treatment. Also, the time it takes to recover from your injuries will depend on how soon you seek treatment and how well you adhere to it.
When to See a Pensacola Dentist?
As we’ve seen above, various kinds of dental injuries are possible after an accident. The good thing is that each one of them has a treatment solution. Seeking dental treatment early will help accelerate your healing and recovery process so you can get back your confident smile.
Whether you are experiencing intense pain, a lost tooth, broken teeth, or jaw problems, the experienced Pensacola dentists at Gulf Coast Dental will examine you and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your needs.