Trauma And Facial Reconstruction: 3 Tooth Replacement Timelines For Severe Injuries

Posted on: 17 December 2015

It's not uncommon for teeth to become displaced or knocked out during an event that causes facial trauma. If the trauma is mild, most natural teeth can be re-inserted, provided that they aren't chipped or broken. However, implantation must occur immediately. If a natural tooth is put back into place within 30 minutes of being knocked out, there is a 50 percent chance that it will survive. After an hour, the chances of survival dwindle to zero.

You can see how it would be difficult to reconstruct tissue and bone after a moderate or severe injury in enough time to re-insert natural teeth. In these cases, dental implants are often used. Following are three reconstruction timelines using dental implants. 

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, are often stitched up by a plastic surgeon, who takes care to reconnect damaged nerves and minimize scarring. In cases where only soft tissue is involved, teeth implants can be placed rather quickly. As long as the swelling has receded, the implantation can occur. The time it takes for swelling to go down depends primarily on the severity of the injuries. 

Bone Fracture Injuries

Fractured facial bones are treated with surgery. During surgery, a maxillofacial reconstructive surgeon aligns bones and makes sure they stay in place by inserting metal wires, plates and screws. At this time, a surgeon can opt to also re-implant any surviving natural teeth and stabilize them by wiring them into place or bonding them to the teeth adjacent to them. If natural teeth are not available, the surgeon may opt to insert the metal base of a tooth implant during surgery. After the injury heals and the wires are removed, the upper, visible portion of the implant can be added by a dentist. Recovery generally takes about six weeks

Missing Bone Injuries

In injuries where portions of bone are missing, reconstructive surgeons may use bone grafts to rebuild the area. They may also harvest bone from other parts of the body. After harvesting, the bones are surgically placed using plates and screws. Like the above treatment plan, surgeons can also place implant screws into the bone at this time. After the injury heals completely, the tooth can be added. With this type of surgery, the healing time averages two months

Dental implants (like those used at Belgrade Dental Associates) are commonly placed during facial reconstruction surgery. However, it may take several weeks before all the steps of tooth implantation are completed. This is especially true for more severe injuries.