When to Seek Endodontic Care for Dental Trauma | Renovo Endodontic Studio

When to Seek Endodontic Care for Dental Trauma


Managing dental trauma is imperative to a patient’s oral and general health. 

Left untreated, trauma can result in tooth loss and infections that could potentially impact the health of their brain, heart, lungs, and artificial joints. 

In today’s blog, we’ll look at various traumatic endodontic emergencies, consider what constitutes an emergency, how to identify signs of dental trauma, and explore when to seek immediate care from Chicago endodontic professionals.  


Understanding Tooth Injury and Dental Trauma

Let’s examine dental trauma, its causes, and consequences. The more we, our team, and our patients are aware of dental injuries, the more likely we’ll be able to explain the importance of obtaining Chicagoland endodontic services. And the sooner our patients will seek endodontic treatment.  

What Are the Common Causes of Tooth Injury and Dental Trauma? 

Dental trauma refers to any injury to the oral tissues, including the: 

  • Teeth 
  • Jaw 
  • Gums 
  • Tongue 
  • Lips  
  • Roof of the mouth 
  • Other hard or soft tissues of the mouth 

Dental injuries can arise in the following scenarios: 

  • Falls 
  • Being hit in the face 
  • Sports injuries 
  • Vehicle accidents  
  • Eating something hard 
  • Biting down on something “wrong” 
  • Biting down on a fork or spoon 
  • Soft tissue burns (from pizza, for example) 
  • Soft tissue abrasions, lacerations, or abrasions 

Some people are more at risk for tooth injuries and oral trauma. These include people who: 

  • Play contact sports 
  • Have lip, cheek, tongue, or other close-to-the-oral-cavity piercings 
  • Have malocclusion, such as an overjet or overbite 
  • Are younger than 20 years of age (the CDC explains that illness, disaster, and accidents are more likely to adversely impact children than adults) 

When an Accident Isn’t the Cause of Tooth Injury 

Another factor that can result in dental trauma is decay.  

When decay isn’t treated early, it spreads through the enamel, which can take some time. However, once the decay reaches the porous dentin, it can spread like wildfire. It’s only a matter of time before the decay reaches the pulp chamber (nerve of the tooth). 

An infection will result once the pulp tissue is exposed to bacteria. Symptoms can include swelling, pain, abscess, and exudate. 

The tooth is traumatized and needs immediate treatment not only to relieve the patient’s pain but to also prevent further damage, which could end in tooth loss.  

Children and Dental Trauma 

According to researchers, dental injuries are more common in children and adolescents. A 2016 study of soft tissue injuries found that over 56% of males aged 0-3 years were the most impacted. The most common injuries included:  

  • Contusion 
  • Abrasion 
  • Upper and lower lip lacerations 
  • Lip abrasions 
  • Gum lacerations 

The injuries reported in this study required immediate care by dental professionals.  

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Postponing Endodontic Care? 

Ultimately, putting off dental treatment (such as endodontic services in the Greater Chicago area) of an injured tooth can result in tooth loss. But the damage doesn’t stop there. 

Tooth loss can result in additional damage to oral tissues. 

For example, once a tooth is lost, the adjacent teeth will shift to fill the space. The shift causes malocclusion, which can lead to: 

  • TMJ disorder 
  • Chronic headaches 
  • Cracked teeth 
  • Broken teeth 
  • Gum disease  

Failing to fill the space with a removable partial denture, dental bridge, or implant can result in even more damage or the loss of more teeth. 

Ultimately, the best bet for the patient – in terms of time, money, and comfort – is to treat the initial tooth injury as soon as possible.  

Dental Trauma Signs and Symptoms: What Dentists Should Look For 

If a patient presents with any of the following symptoms, it’s typically a sign of dental trauma. 

  • Toothache 
  • Tooth discoloration (particularly turning brown, grey, or black) 
  • Jaw pain 
  • Mouth pain 
  • Foul taste and/or breath 
  • Swelling of the cheeks, jaw, gums, or other soft tissues 
  • Bleeding from the mouth 
  • Loose tooth/teeth 
  • A knocked-out (avulsed) tooth 
  • A dislodged tooth 
  • A fractured tooth 
  • A visible crack 
  • Difficulty moving the jaw 
  • Difficulty opening the mouth 
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together 
  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • A fever 
  • Swollen glands (lymph nodes in the neck) 

Thorough Examination and Documentation for Accurate Referrals to Endodontic Providers in the Chicago Area 

When a patient experiences a dental emergency, their first course of action is to either call 911 or their general dental provider.  

If a patient sees their dentist due to a tooth injury, it is vital to their future oral health and current comfort that the dentist performs a thorough examination. Accurate documentation is also essential. 

During the diagnostic process, a dentist will take at least one dental x-ray to evaluate:  

  • The coronal portion of the tooth 
  • The root 
  • Inside the tooth 
  • The bone surrounding the root 

During their intraoral examination, they’ll check for:  

  • Bleeding 
  • Exudate 
  • Cracks or fractures 
  • Loose teeth 
  • Bite pressure sensitivity 
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold 
  • Abrasions, burns, or lacerations 
  • Signs of enamel wear or gum recession 

Once they’ve completed the exam, they’ll decide if they can treat the patient or if it’s in the patient’s best interests to visit one of the top-rated endodontists in the Greater Chicago area.  

To refer a patient to an endodontist, the general dentist will share all diagnostic materials (x-rays and chart notes) so the specialist is on the same page as the dentist and can move forward quickly and confidently.  

The Role of Local Endodontic Experts in the Chicago Suburbs in Treating Trauma 

Endodontists are root and pulp experts, diagnosing and treating teeth that are damaged, infected, diseased, or inflamed. Signs a patient may need to see an endodontist include:  

  • Facial or neck swelling 
  • An abscessed tooth 
  • Toothache 
  • Sensitivity to heat/cold/bite pressure 
  • Exudate  
  • A foul taste/smell 

How Does an Endodontist Differ from Other Dental Specialists 

There are several subspecialties of dentistry, one of which is endodontics. Other specialists include (but aren’t limited to):  

  • Periodontists (gum specialists) 
  • Oral surgeons 
  • Orthodontists 
  • Pediatric dentists 
  • Prosthodontists 

An endodontist focuses solely on the roots and the pulp tissue within the tooth. General dentists can perform root canal therapy, but they’re limited in how many patients they can treat because of the needs of other patients (fillings, crowns, cleanings, etc.) and because some cases are too complex. 

Why Patients Can Put Their Faith in Endodontists  

Some reasons patients can have confidence in the treatment they receive from Chicago endodontic professionals include the following.  


To become a dental specialist, a dentist must first complete dental school (eight years), followed by two to three additional years of advanced specialty training.  


Because they limit their practice to endodontics, an endodontist averages 25 root canal treatments each week, according to the American Association of Endodontists. They dedicate all their time to the diagnosis and treatment of tooth and facial pain. Therefore, patients can trust they’re in good hands when they’re referred to an endodontic specialist.  

Pain Management  

The main goal of an endodontist is to get the patient out of pain.  

In some cases, general dentists refer patients to endodontists even when they’re unsure of what’s causing the patient’s pain. This is because endodontists have specialized tools to diagnose difficult cases and unique techniques to ensure patient comfort 

Endodontists are also experts at getting and keeping patients numb during treatment – something that is often difficult for patients with infected or inflamed pulp tissue.  

Advanced Technology 

Because endodontics is a specialty of dentistry, endodontists have specialized equipment for diagnostics and treatment. Such tools allow them to:  

  • Provide an accurate diagnosis 
  • Ensure patient comfort 
  • Reduce appointment time 
  • Prevent microleakage 
  • Prevent additional damage to the tooth  
  • Thoroughly clean out root canals 

Some of the technologies used by endodontists are 3D imaging which allows for detailed images of the patient’s anatomy, as well as microscopes that allow the endodontist to better see inside the tooth and canals.  

Immediate Steps for Referring Dentists: Guidelines on Providing Initial Care 

Before a patient receives Chicagoland endodontic services, the referring dentist will need to address the patient’s symptoms.  

Stabilizing Avulsed or Dislodged Teeth 

If a tooth is dislodged or knocked out, the general dentist needs to do all they can to save the tooth. The tooth needs to be cleaned (if it’s knocked out) and placed back in the socket. Hopefully, the tooth is in good enough condition that the periodontal ligaments will reattach and stabilize the tooth. In most cases, root canal therapy is necessary after avulsion. 

Patients with dislodged teeth will need stabilization. The general dentist can apply composite resin (the same that is used for tooth-colored fillings) to create a dental splint to stabilize the tooth until it heals.  

Managing Pain and Swelling 

General dentists can prescribe antibiotics and pain medication to reduce swelling, help kill the infection, and alleviate pain.  

Communicating Effectively with Patients and Their Families 

A dental emergency is a scary experience for the patient and their family. During this difficult and stressful time, the patient’s general dentist must communicate compassionately and effectively.  

The patient and their family will need to know:  

  • The diagnosis (if one can be made at that time) 
  • The prognosis (if possible) 
  • What treatment is needed 
  • What follow-up restorative treatment is necessary  

Referring to Endodontics Providers in the Chicago Area Promptly 

Finally, a general dentist will contact a Chicago endodontic specialist immediately to schedule an evaluation. The sooner we see a patient, the better the possibility we can save the tooth and prevent further damage. 

Challenges Dentists Can Face in Referring Dental Trauma Cases 

Dentists might face some challenges when referring their patients to local endodontic experts in the Chicago suburbs. Here are a few of the challenges and some tips that can help promote a smooth transition of care.  

Dental Insurance Considerations 

Dental insurance can be tricky sometimes. But we want our patients to get as much of their treatment covered as possible. Therefore, we collaborate with general dentists and insurance companies to help patients get the best care at the best price. For instance, we can submit pre-authorizations to the insurance company to get an accurate cost estimate for the patient and help ensure the insurance will cover at least a portion of any procedures necessary. 

Managing Patient Anxiety 

It isn’t uncommon for patients to experience anxiety when meeting a dental specialist. Add to that the anxiety they’re already experiencing because of the tooth injury and the dental fear is almost palpable.  

A general dentist can help ease their patient’s mind by explaining:  

  • Why the patient needs specialized care 
  • Why they trust this specialist  
  • What they’ll experience during treatment 
  • What services they’ll need post-endodontic treatment (and why) 

How to Choose Top-Rated Endodontic Experts in the Greater Chicago Area 

If a dentist is going to convey their confidence in an endodontic specialist to their patients, they need to actually have confidence in that person. Here are some reasons why Chicago dentists have confidence in Renovo Endodontic Studio.  

Our High-Level of Endodontic Care 

We want the best for our patients, so we only use evidence-based treatment that’s backed by studies in the most reputable journals.  

Our Team’s Qualifications 

Many of the Chicago endodontists on our team graduated with honors and have been nominated for or won prestigious awards in dentistry.  

Advanced In-Office Technologies 

Our team is always on the cutting edge of technology. Some of the tools we incorporate into our practice include:  

  • Microscopes 
  • 3D imaging 
  • Dental dams 
  • Digital x-rays 
  • Panoramic x-rays 

Navigating Dental Emergencies with Your Chicago Endodontic Specialists   

General dentists want the best for their patients. We do, too! Together, we can manage our patients’ dental trauma in a timely manner. That means we can relieve a patient’s pain, hopefully save their tooth, and prevent future dental issues. By prioritizing our patient’s well-being, we can ensure optimal patient outcomes.  

Are you looking for a new endodontic team in your network? We’d love to meet up! Contact our team to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to meet you and see how we can assist your patients.   

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