What Is Dental Intrusion, And How Can It Affect Your Child?
Whether it's a sports game that was a little too rough, jumping out of a tree, or one of the other many accidents that a child might experience, an occasional injury is a part of being a child. When that injury has affected your child's teeth, the whole process can be a bit intrusive. Dental intrusion is an injury that can be deceptive in some ways, although it can be rather serious.
When your child suffers from an injury that has compromised their teeth, you need to contact your family dentist for an immediate consultation. An initial inspection in the immediate aftermath of the accident may fail to notice dental intrusion, especially when your child is at the age of mixed dentition. This is when their teeth are a combination of primary (baby) teeth and permanent (adult) teeth. But what exactly is dental intrusion?
A Traumatic Injury
Dental intrusion is classified as a traumatic injury that has displaced a tooth without dislodging it. It has been effectively forced back into the alveolar ridge (the dense ridge of bone that holds the dental sockets). This is why mixed dentition can complicate a diagnosis of dental intrusion, as a displaced tooth can mimic a tooth that is still developing. It looks as though the tooth is still growing, whereas it has actually been forced back into the alveolar ridge. How is dental intrusion diagnosed?
Assessing Dental Intrusion
Your dentist's first action will be to treat the immediate trauma. This means they will address any lacerations or injuries present in the mouth while assessing physical damage (breaks) to your child's teeth. With permanent teeth, dental intrusion can be quite obvious, as the affected tooth will have a noticeably reduced vertical dimension. With mixed dentition, your dentist will perform a radiograph to confirm that the tooth is in fact affected by dental intrusion.
Treating Dental Intrusion
When this intrusion has been confirmed, treatment can commence. Depending on the severity of the dental intrusion, the tooth can sometimes be left as is and will reposition itself. The real danger is when the tooth's apex (the pointed tip of each root) is being pressed into the tooth germ beneath it. This can jeopardize the formation of the permanent adult tooth that was to replace the primary baby tooth. In this instance, the tooth must be extracted. In order to maintain the correct alignment of your child's teeth, your dentist may then install a space maintainer. This is a dental appliance that keeps the adjacent teeth (either side of the gap) from crowding into the space and obstructing the eventual growth of the permanent tooth.
Teeth don't naturally reduce their height. If your child experiences dental intrusion after an accident, the intrusion requires immediate intervention to safeguard the development of their adult teeth.