When you’ve had a serious dental trauma or knock to your teeth and face, prompt management is necessary.
Here’s a short checklist to run through…
- Rule out serious head and neck injury. If in doubt, go to an accident and emergency department. Favour the cautious approach always.
- If you suspect an injury which might compromise their airway or breathing, call an Ambulance and provide necessary first aid. This is a potentially life threatening injury.
- If you suspect a neck injury, call an Ambulance and immobilise the patient. This is a potentially life threatening injury or may result in permanent disability.
- Extensive bruising around the eyes and behind the one or both ears may indicate a very serious skull fracture. Call an Ambulance, immobilise the patient. This is a potentially life threatening injury or may lead to permanent disability.
- Direct injury to the eye is a very serious problem and needs immediate medical attention. Consider eye injury first aid. Failure to do so may result in permanent blindness. Get to Accident and Emergency urgently.
- A flat face or sunken eye or double vision may indicate a fractured eye socket or cheekbone. Go to Accident and Emergency urgently as there may also be an eye injury which could cause permanent blindness. Consider eye injury first aid.
- Any difficulty with bringing the teeth into their normal bite, irregular bite or bruising under the tongue may be a sign of a lower jaw fracture or cheekbone fracture. Go to Accident and Emergency promptly. There is a risk that these injuries can worsen and compromise the airway.
- If teeth have been knocked out, retrieve them if possible. Hold tooth gently by the crown and wash the dirt off with saline, fresh milk or Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution (this is in some sports first aid kits). Wrap carefully with glad-wrap and keep cool (do not freeze), or place back into the socket where it came from and splint with aluminium foil or blu-tak. Attention by a dentist is needed within approximately one hour. Beyond this hour, the tooth may still be saved, but chances of successfully keeping the tooth reduces with time.
- Blows and fractures to teeth need to be reviewed by a dentist as soon as possible, particularly when bleeding from within the tooth can be identified. Subsequent reviews at 4-6 weeks are also recommended. We recommend calling us on 0731512850 for specific advice.
- Injuries to baby teeth – Call us on 0731512850 for specific advice at any time.
- Fragments of broken teeth can end up in the soft tissue wounds. We will investigate soft tissue wounds for this. If you can retrieve larger fragments, these may be useful for restoring the tooth. Store in milk or normal saline and bring along to the appointment.
Maxillofacial Surgeons on-call
We have after-hours contact details for a number of Maxillofacial surgeons in private practice who are on-call to treat fractures of the eye socket, cheekbones and jaws.
These providers charge a fee for their service and treatment and immediate post-operative care is usually performed in a private hospital. People with health insurance may find some of these costs are partially or fully covered depending our their level of care.
If this is not practical, emergency treatment is also available as a public patient through Queensland Health hospitals. Please present to your nearest major accident and emergency department at a public hospital and necessary diagnosis and treatment will be arranged through the public system.
Please contact our practice on 0731512850 (all hours) to discuss referral for treatment with these providers.