Dental Trauma Case Studies
Sporting accidents can involve much more than chipped teeth. Mouthguards aim to prevent a range of injuries relating to teeth, the surrounding bone and jaws. Most of these injuries carry a significant life-long burden in terms of treatment required and cost. Below, we outline some case studies of patients who have suffered injuries which would have been preventable.
Holly knocked and broke her front tooth at hockey training. She found the broken fragment and a clever endodontist (root canal and trauma specialist) was able to complete a procedure and bond the tooth fragment back into place. This tooth luckily avoided needing root canal treatment.
Even with prompt treatment and a best case scenario like this, the repair to this tooth will need life-long monitoring and maintenance. Repairs such as this often do not last long-term and teeth like this may still require root canal treatment over time. Holly and her parents are aware that this tooth is eventually likely to require a veneer or crown during adult life, requiring significant cost and treatment in an important cosmetic area.
Cameron had an accident whilst mountain bike riding and knocked his front teeth. The bone around these teeth fractured and two teeth were displaced as shown. Cameron’s prompt presentation to a dentist allowed the teeth (and bone) to be re-positioned. After some weeks of review, both of these teeth required root canal treatment but were able to be saved.
When teeth receive heavy knocks or are displaced, this can disrupt the blood supply, resulting in pain and infection requiring root canal treatment. Because re-positioning of these teeth was carried out quickly and root canal treatment was completed to a high standard, the long-term outlook for these teeth is quite good. However, there is significant cost and treatment time involved in root canal treatment and these teeth will require long-term monitoring and upkeep.
Casey received a knock to her front teeth whilst playing sport at school (we’ve spared you the photo with this case!!). One of her front teeth was displaced out of position and another was knocked out entirely. The tooth that was knocked out was put back into place, then splinted by a dentist and required root canal treatment. This allowed the tooth to be kept for a few more years but after complications, Casey lost the tooth at age 16. She then had to wear a removable denture to replace the front tooth for five years and ended up having an implant placed at the age of 21.
Some injuries are very unfortunate and can result in loss of a tooth. Losing a tooth during the teenage years can be very challenging as there is no really good way of replacing a missing front tooth whilst a patient is still growing. Aside from the very significant time and costs involved in the initial management of this injury and the eventual implant, there is lifetime maintenance involved and this patient had a number of challenging years having to wear a denture during a sensitive stage of life.
Follow the link for information on what to do if a tooth is knocked out.
Although the above injuries range in severity, all would have been preventable with the use of a sports mouthguard. Although we can achieve some great results with modern dentistry, the fact remains that any damage to the teeth lasts for life and prevention is always better than treatment.