A car accident can result in serious, painful, and generally costly dental injuries. Unfortunately, many accident victims leave their dental injuries untreated, largely because they often happen during catastrophic crashes when victims must focus on getting their more severe injuries treated. This further exacerbates their dental damages.
Types of Dental Injuries
An accident victim can suffer either direct or indirect dental injuries depending on the car crash and the force of impact he or she sustains. Direct dental injuries happen when the mouth or head hits or gets hit by an object. Indirect dental injuries happen when an accident victim suddenly closes his or her mouth, causing the upper teeth to crush the lower jaws. If the accident was caused by a negligent driver, an auto accident attorney can help the victim recover tangible and intangible damages from that driver.
Car accidents cause three major types of dental injuries. They include:
An avulsed tooth refers to a tooth that has been knocked off its socket. In the event of an avulsed tooth, an accident victim should pick it up by the crown, not by the roots. He or she should immediately store the tooth in a plastic vessel full of saline solution, saliva, or whole milk. He or she should then seek medical assistance right away because there are only roughly two hours to have the tooth returned to the mouth. Once this window of time elapses, the tooth will be less likely to survive.
Tooth luxation is a dental injury where a tooth is loosened but not fully knocked off its socket. When an accident victim suffers tooth luxation, his or her tooth moves forward, backward, and sideways.
Dental fractures usually happen during catastrophic vehicle collisions. The following are three main categories of dental fractures.
- Ellis I injuries occur when the crown suffers a fracture that only affects the tooth’s enamel. The affected teeth have craggy edges but no visible color change.
- Ellis II injuries are fractures that affect both the enamel and dentin layer. The damaged teeth are soft and a yellow dentin layer may be noticeable during an examination.
- Ellis III injuries refer to fractures that extend to the enamel, dentin, as well as pulp layers. The damaged teeth have a visible area of red or pink at the center.