Crown fracture

The crown is the largest, most visible part of the tooth. In most cases, the crown is the part of the tooth that sustains trauma. There are several classifications of crown fracture, ranging from minor enamel cracks (not an emergency) to pulp exposure (requiring immediate treatment).

The dentist can assess the severity of the fracture by visually examination and by the use of dental xrays. Any change in tooth color (blackening, pinkish or yellowish tinges inside the tooth) is an emergency warning sign that needs to be evaluated immediately. Minor crown fractures often warrant the application of a dental sealant, whereas more severe crown fractures sometimes require pulpal treatments. In the case of crown fracture, the dentist should be contacted. Jagged enamel can irritate and inflame soft oral tissues and may cause infection. How you can help:

1. Rinse the child’s mouth with warm water.

2. Place a cold, moist compress on the affected area.

3. Offer over the counter pain relief as needed.

4. Pack the tooth with a biocompatible material (Orthodontic Wax).

5. Visit the dental office or the hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

Root fracture

A root fracture is caused by direct trauma, and isn’t noticeable to the naked eye. If a root fracture is suspected, dental x-rays need to be taken. Depending on the exact positioning of the fracture and the child’s level of discomfort, the tooth can be monitored, treated, or may need to be extracted as a worst case scenario. How you can help:

1. Place a cold, moist compress on the affected area

2. Offer over the counter pain relief as needed.

3. Contact your dentist.

Fractured jaw

If a broken or fractured jaw is suspected, proceed immediately to the hospital emergency room. In the meantime, encourage the injured individual not to move the jaw. In the case of a very young child, gently tie a scarf lengthways around the head and jaw to prevent or limit movement.