Tooth Injuries in Children
Has your child injured their tooth? Tooth injuries in children can be serious and have life long consequences. Especially if they have already lost their deciduous teeth and experienced a tooth injury to their permanent teeth. As a parent, you’re going to want to seek out a doctor that has specialized experience in traumatic tooth injuries in children to ensure the best result. At Precision Endodontics, our dedicated Buffalo endodontists specialize in treating traumatic tooth injuries in children. With two convenient locations in West Seneca and Williamsville, we can help restore your child’s smile and save their teeth. Keep reading to learn more about how we treat tooth injuries in children.
What Are Regenerative Genes?
Researchers now believe that two regenerative genes – IMP1 and Lin28a – are very active in fetuses and gradually weaken as the person gets older. This explains why children heal much faster than adults, especially when it comes to bone tissue. Some doctors believe that this “genetic fountain of youth” may one day have amazing applications, but when it comes to endodontics, this difference has amazing applications today.
Because children heal more quickly from bone trauma injuries, they can also heal much more quickly, and much more effectively, from traumatic tooth injuries. Moreover, some of the traditional therapies used in adults, like crowns and bridges, may not be best for children, because replacing some teeth may inhibit future growth. Also, since a child’s jaw is still developing, young children are generally not candidates for implants and related procedures.
Types of Traumatic Tooth Injuries in Children
- Chipped Teeth: If only the surface is chipped or cracked, a filling or reattachment usually restores the tooth. But if the pulp is exposed then an experienced Endodontist probably will need to perform a root canal. The common symptoms for this include discomfort while breathing or drinking cold fluids.
- Extruded Teeth: If the tooth is pushed out of position, patients over 12 usually require a root canal to mend the root. Sometimes calcium hydroxide or other prescription medication is used, as well. Younger patients may be able to heal on their own once the tooth is stabilized.
- Root Fracture: A traumatic injury may result in a horizontal fracture of the root. The long term health of the tooth is determined by the location of the fracture. A fracture that is closer to the root tip has a better chance for success. Sometimes, a splint is used to stabilize the tooth for a certain period of time.
- Avulsed Teeth: If the avulsed tooth is handled very carefully and immediate care is given, the tooth can probably be replaced into the socket, and restored with a subsequent root canal. “Immediate attention” usually means 30 minutes or less. After that time, it is harder to save the tooth.
Treating Traumatic Tooth Injuries in Children
Two essential components to saving a child’s teeth after a traumatic injury are keeping the pulp alive and restoring the root. After an avulsion or extrusion (partial dislodging), the pulp can usually be kept alive without medication for between thirty minutes and two hours. Then, an endodontist can use one of several medicines to sustain tooth pulp, including:
- CaOH: Tried and true Calcium Hydroxide has yielded effective results in many patients since it was first used in 1936.
- MTA: The Food and Drug Administration approved Mineral Trioxide Aggregate in 1998, and it is fast becoming the medication of choice, because it has fewer side effects and forms a better seal than CaOH.
CaOH and MTA are both powders that become gel-like pastes when added to water.
If the pulp can be salvaged, which is possible in most cases, an experienced endodontist can salvage your child’s teeth through one of two procedures on the roots:
- Apexogenesis: As either CaOH or MTA restores the pulp, the roots continue to develop and may only need monitoring and occasional minor intervention to reach maturity.
- Apexification: In some cases, diseased or damaged pulp must be gently extracted to make room for healthy cells. Endodontists then strengthen the root apex (tip) and closely monitor the patients to watch for hairline tooth cracks and other fractures.
Apexogenesis and Apexification therapy usually takes between six weeks and eighteen months, depending on the patient’s general health, age, and extent of tooth damage.
If you want to take your kid to a doctor who specializes in traumatic tooth injuries in children, please don’t hesitate to call our office today and set up an appointment. Let our Buffalo endodontists work to get the results you want for your child.
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