Whether you trip and fall, are struck with a ball, or get into fight with someone, a blow to the mouth usually results in some form of oral injury. However, while fat lips and bruised jaws—aside from the pain—are fairly minor, other oral injuries might require an immediate visit to your dentist.
Identifying possible dental trauma; however, can be tricky initially as what might appear at first glance to be nothing more than a minor injury might later become a dental emergency.
With that in mind, here are 4 less obvious outcomes of being struck in the mouth.
When the Tooth has Bent Inwards (dental luxation)
On occasion, a blow to the mouth may bend a tooth inward toward your tongue. Although this might look serious, it doesn't necessarily mean you will lose the tooth. The bone around the roots of your teeth is weaker than the teeth, which are made of enamel; the hardest substance in the human body, so naturally, the bone will give way in the event of trauma. However, your root may still be intact.
In this case, book an emergency dental appointment and have the tooth evaluated and moved back into position. The damaged bone will grow back around the root of the tooth in a short while.
If a Tooth has been Forced into the Gum (intruded)
This type of injury can have serious implications for the affected tooth, and so you should seek immediate dental help. Due to the force required to push a tooth into the gum, the nerve of the tooth may have been damaged. If the nerve dies, you may lose the tooth. However, an endodontist may be able to save the nerve or at the very least, perform a root canal to remove the pulp and fill in the root so that you may continue to use the tooth.
Your body may also begin to resorb the root of the tooth, which will eventually cause the tooth to fall out, much like a child's primary tooth right before it is replaced with a secondary tooth.
When the Tooth Changes Colour
Teeth can also turn yellow shortly after experiencing trauma, but the change might not occur immediately. It could take up to 2-3 days. However, this isn't a serious symptom and is a normal reaction to dental trauma.
In some cases, if a tooth is struck it may begin to produce more dentin, which is the layer of porous material beneath enamel. This is a natural reaction to trauma, designed to protect the pulp, or the nerve, which resides inside the tooth.
While this may not be very aesthetically pleasing, it is a minor setback. However, you may wish to see your dentist to have the tooth whitened, or to have a veneer placed so that tooth doesn't stand out when you smile.
If Your Gum Recedes after Trauma (gingival recession)
Gum recession can also result from trauma. If your gum takes some of the impact it may pull back from the neck of the tooth, exposing the root beneath. This will lead to sensitivity to cold and heat; however, your gum should return to its former position within a day or two, once fully healed. If it doesn't, see your dentist immediately as the root of your tooth will be susceptible to tooth decay.
Not every blow to the mouth will result in injury; however, if you notice anything unusual or something doesn't feel right, call your dentist and book an appointment. What looks harmless now could become a problem in the near future.