Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


6 Types of Dental Trauma

Dental trauma occurs in many forms—chipped enamel, a loose tooth, or a displaced tooth. When you or your loved one receives a traumatic dental injury, it is vital that you work with a  a top dental professional. If addressed in a timely manner, they’ll be able to mend the injury and restore your teeth to perfect condition.

Hillcrest Dental provides quality dental care to patients throughout Charlottesville, VA. Our dentist, Dr. Buckwalter is readily trained in a variety of dental procedures in general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and oral surgery services that can accurately restore a patient’s dental health. Furthermore, our staff makes Hillcrest a friendly and welcoming practice where patients feel like family.

Below, we list several types of dental trauma, as well as their symptoms and possible ways your dentist may treat them:

What is Dental Trauma?

It is any physical injury that occurs to the teeth, gums, lips, and tongue, as well as to the alveolar bone—the area of bone along your jaw bones that hold your teeth together. The American Association of Endodontists states that these injuries often occur due to accidents as well as sports-related activities. There are many different kinds of injuries that are classified as dental trauma, each falling under the following categories:

  • Dental injuries – injuries to the teeth
  • Periodontal injuries – injuries to the soft tissue around your teeth

While certain categories of injuries can be more serious, all of them are considered serious dental trauma that should be treated by a professional dental practitioner. Below, we describe the different types of dental trauma according to their respective categories.

Common Types of Dental Trauma

Dental Injuries

Commonly, dental injuries occur directly on your tooth. In order to understand what you or your loved one might face with such injuries, we list how they are identified and treated by a dental expert:

  • Enamel Infraction – A small crack in the enamel (the outer surface of your tooth). This tends to be an injury that requires a simple treatment. The dentist will etch and seal the crack with resin to avoid discoloration of the cracked tooth.
  • Enamel fracture – A small chip in the enamel. If tooth fragments are recovered, a dentist will bond them back together. If not, they can still restore the tooth using composite resin.
  • Enamel-dentine fracture – A deeper chip that includes both the enamel and the dentin (the substance beneath the enamel that supports its structure). Similar to an enamel fracture, these fractures can be restored with the tooth fragments or resin. However, if enough dentine has been lost close enough to the pulp of your tooth, the dentist will place calcium hydroxide over the injury and cover it with a filling.

Periodontal injuries

Periodontal injuries may overlap with dental injuries, but they usually involve trauma to soft tissue around the teeth:

  • Concussion – A tooth concussion is usually when one or more teeth are damaged but not dislodged from the gums. Instead, they simply feel tender.

A dentist will examine the concussion for symptoms over the course of several appointments to make sure no further treatment is needed.

  • Subluxation – A tooth withstands trauma and is mobile but not dislodged. Meaning, it is moving loosely within the tooth socket. In addition, there may be bleeding around the gums of the damaged tooth as well. A dentist may place a splint to stabilize the tooth so it can heal, then perform follow-up exams to ensure it remains stable.
  • Lateral luxation – A fracture to the alveolar bone and a separation from the periodontal ligament–attaches your tooth to the alveolar bone–makes the tooth appear to be displaced, either pointing forward or backward along your gum line.

While it may not be loose, it is still out of alignment. Your dentist will reposition it and place a flexible splint that will stay in for around 4 weeks. After that, you’ll receive check-ups every two weeks following the treatment to ensure the injury has healed without any other complications.

Hillcrest Dental: Top Dental Practice in Charlottesville, VA

As among the top dental practices in Charlottesville, VA, Hillcrest Dental offers treatments for any dental health issue. Whether it is for a traumatic dental injury, or for a regular check-up and cleaning, our head dentist, Dr. Buckwalter, and our staff will ensure you are taken care of. We perform a wide variety of dental health services and make sure we are as available as possible. Contact us at (434) 973-2224 to learn more about our services and make an appointment with us today!

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.