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Emergency Dental Care After Car Accident
After a car accident, emergency dental care is a common necessity. Steering wheels and air bags commonly cause damage to the face, skull and mouth. After a car accident, it is important to seek dental treatment as soon as possible, as many dental problems are time sensitive.
What constitutes a dental emergency?
After a car accident, any noticeable injury to the jaw, teeth, gums or mouth should be treated as a dental emergency. Even after being seen in the E.R., a dentist should be contacted immediately. Common dental emergencies following car accidents include loosened, chipped or missing teeth.
Do not assume treatment can wait just because a tooth is still attached. Loosened teeth are at a great risk of infection or full death. If a loose tooth is left untreated, it becomes at risk of developing an infection that could spread down to the jawbone.
Loose teeth need to be seen right away. Waiting much more than a day can be risky. Many loose teeth can be treated with splints or crown-like implants that attach the tooth to the stable teeth next to it. In severe cases, the tooth may need to be replaced.
Chipped teeth also require immediate emergency dental care. The first 12 hours are crucial for saving the tooth from additional damage. Some minor chips may only need smoothed over, but if large pieces of tooth have chipped away, the tooth may be at risk of disease, decay or even death.
A dental bonding or filling may be used to fix a chipped tooth. More severe cases may necessitate veneers, caps or crowns to restore the tooth. If the tooth is badly damaged and treatment is not swift, a root canal may even be needed.
Lost teeth can sometimes still be saved. If possible, locate the missing tooth and rinse it carefully in water (do not touch the root). Place the tooth in a glass of milk and take it to the dentist.
With the chaos of a car accident, it is possible the missing tooth may be lost for good. In these cases, an implant will be necessary. Although an implant is less time sensitive than re-implanting the original tooth, it should still be done as quickly as possible. Getting an implant can take several visits, so starting the process sooner is advised.
Do not wait to get treatment for a lost tooth. The surrounding teeth are also at a greater risk of loosening or shifting due to the new gap.
Compensation for treatment
Even if dental insurance does not cover the full cost of the necessary dental treatment, compensation may still be possible. Some insurance policies will not cover procedures considered to be cosmetic in nature, such as tooth replacements or chipped tooth repair. However, depending on local and state laws, insurance may still be required to provide full compensation if the damage was the result of a car accident.
Be sure to seek emergency dental care immediately following an accident. For appropriate care, always relate to the dentist the cause of the injuries.
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