Watch Out for Black Ice in Winter Weather
Dental Trauma from Slipping and Falling on Ice
Imagine you’re walking along enjoying the crisp winter air when suddenly your feet shoot out from under you, leaving you shocked as you fall to the ground. Your path seemed to be clear, but as you look a little closer you see a nearly invisible glaze of black ice under your feet.
What is black ice?
Black ice is an infamously dangerous winter road condition in which ice is so thin and transparent that it can’t be easily seen. It’s most often used in reference to driving conditions, but black ice isn’t only a cause for concern for drivers. Black ice can also cause accidents for pedestrians while walking across a street or on the sidewalk. Slipping and falling on black ice can lead to head and facial injuries as well as dental trauma.
What injuries can happen from falling on black ice?
Injuries from falling on black ice have a chance of being quite severe since you often don’t anticipate slipping. It’s important that if you do fall you take a moment to collect yourself before jumping up right away. Sometimes it can take a moment to realize you’ve hurt yourself.
Some of the most common injuries from falling on black ice include muscle sprains, fractures, back pain, broken bones, and concussions. Many people often land on a hip, wrist, leg, or on their back after slipping. Although head injuries are less common than back pain or a broken ankle, they can be extremely damaging.
It’s crucial to seek out help if you’ve experienced any sort of head or facial impact from falling. Concussions and related head injuries are very serious, and if you’ve hit your head hard enough to knock out or crack a tooth, you may have done other damage.
If you’ve hit your head and you feel dizzy, confused, nauseous, and wobbly, or if you have a headache, sudden sensitivity to light or noise, change in pupil size, or you lost consciousness, you need to seek immediate medical assistance as you could have a brain injury.
Dental Trauma From Falling on Black Ice
Some examples of dental trauma from a fall on ice include:
- Knocked-out teeth
- Dislodged teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Bitten or cut tongue, cheek, or lip
If you’re experiencing a dental injury without signs of head trauma, you can contact an emergency dentist for assistance.
If an emergency dentist isn’t available or you’re experiencing signs of a head or brain injury in addition to dental trauma, have someone drive you to the closest emergency center for help instead. While a dentist can treat dental and oral injuries, we won’t be able to help with a suspect brain injury or severe head trauma.
How an Emergency Dentist Can Treat Dental Trauma
Here’s how an experienced dentist can help you with a dental injury.
If you’ve knocked out a tooth, stay calm. Collect the tooth and take care to only touch the crown and not the root. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in clean water and see if it will go back into the socket. If there is any resistance, stop, place the tooth in a glass of cold milk, and get to a dentist as soon as possible.
Your dentist will take x-rays of the tooth if you were able to replace it in its socket. If you weren’t able to, they will replace it and take x-rays afterwards to ensure proper position. From there they will splint the tooth and follow up with care afterward to save it.
If a tooth isn’t able to be saved, don’t worry. Modern dental restorations like dental implants and dental bridges can replace your missing tooth.
Sometimes a tooth doesn’t get completely knocked out but instead becomes dislodged and may feel wiggly or loose. If you notice your tooth has shifted in position or is noticeably loose, your dentist will need to see you right away.
They will take x-rays to assess the damage and determine how to treat the tooth. The tooth may be able to be saved by repositioning it and splinting, similar to how a knocked-out tooth would be treated.
Chipped or Fractured Tooth
A mild or moderate chipped tooth doesn’t require emergency care, but a severely chipped or fractured tooth does, especially if you’re bleeding or experiencing severe pain.
Your dentist will begin by examining the tooth and taking x-rays. If the tooth is still healthy, damage can be repaired through restorative dentistry procedures like a dental crown. In some cases, root canal therapy may be recommended if the tooth has signs of interior damage to the pulp.
If a tooth is fractured to the point it can’t be recovered, extraction may be the last resort, followed by the placement of a dental implant, bridge, or partial denture.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
The tongue, inside of the cheeks, and lips can all easily be bitten during a fall. Sometimes a bite or laceration can happen in addition to a knocked-out or chipped tooth. Dentists are able to treat these types of oral injuries in a few ways.
Most bites or cuts inside the mouth can simply be cleaned and allowed to heal on their own. If an injury is bleeding and painful, your dentist can numb the area and apply gauze to control the bleeding. Usually, this is enough, coupled with at-home aftercare. However, a more severe bite or cut may need sutures.
In a case of a very bad laceration or bleeding that won’t stop, your dentist will get the bleeding under control and refer you to an urgent care or emergency center.
Emergency Dental Care in East Norriton, PA
If you’re in or close to East Norriton, PA, and you’ve experienced dental trauma, the team at Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center can help you. Call our office for immediate assistance. We even have an emergency phone line directed to an on-call staff member for after-hours emergencies.