There are millions of drivers on the road today. Many of those are teenagers. Teenagers are certainly in the high-risk category for many things including car accidents. It makes sense due to the available distractions such as texting or talking on the phone, preoccupied by passengers, attention diverted to something inside or outside the vehicle, loud music or reaching for something on the floor or on the backseat. All of these things can be a distraction for any driver. However, a young person behind the wheel, such as a teenager, does not have the automatic reflex that comes with the experience of a seasoned driver. As a parent, this is one of the many things to worry about when it comes to your child. If your child has been in a car accident and needs to see his or her orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA, as a result, the following information may help you understand the process.
Car accident related dental injury and treatment
The most common injuries related to car accidents occur when the individual is thrust forward and his or her face comes into contact with the steering wheel, dashboard or airbag. When the individual is wearing braces, the impact can be more severe requiring immediate attention and a visit to the orthodontist.
- Chipped or cracked teeth- the dentist or orthodontist will need to take x-rays in order to determine the extent of the damage. The course of treatment will depend on the severity of the chip or crack. There are three layers to the tooth- the outer layer is enamel, then dentin and the inside with the soft tissue and nerves is called the pulp. If the chip or crack goes through to the pulp, a crown and a root canal may be necessary. If the damage only affects the outer layers, a filling may do the trick.
- Luxated teeth- luxated refers to a tooth that has been disrupted in its socket and is now loose. The impact from a car accident can cause tooth intrusion (when the tooth is pushed too far into the socket) or a partial avulsion (when the tooth is pushed out of the socket but is not completely dislodged. The dentist will need to stabilize the tooth.
- Avulsed teeth- avulsed refers to a completely dislodged tooth and believe it or not, it is possible to restore an avulsed tooth if it is treated immediately. There have been cases where the tooth was successfully replaced and stabilized.
The immediate and long-term impact of injury
It is important to contact your child’s orthodontist and set up an appointment. The jarring impact of a car accident may have caused more subtle damage to your child’s teeth and jaw. Whiplash can affect jaw alignment which will alter the treatment path that your child’s orthodontist has in place. It is best to properly assess any damage caused by the accident so the orthodontist can modify the treatment plan as needed.
Consult with a personal injury attorney
If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, you are encouraged to consult with a personal injury attorney. You may be able to seek compensation for any and all medical bills. An experienced attorney will understand the process and can advise you on your options.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into orthodontic care.