Crash, Bang, Boom and You’re Missing a Tooth.
That day started out just like any other workday. You woke up, got ready, made a healthy lunch and headed out to work with minutes to spare. But then, unlike every other day, somewhere in between your morning coffee and packing up to go home is when it happened—the accident that knocked out one of your teeth.
Injuries resulting in the need for dental work make up only a small percentage of the thousands of accidents that happen each year in workplaces across Ontario. However, when accidents do occur, you may be able to make a claim to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for workers compensation to cover the costs of repairing or replacing teeth damaged or lost in the accident.
WSIB is one of the largest insurance providers in North America, covering over 5 million people working at more than 300,000 businesses across the province with workers compensation benefits. WSIB is funded by businesses and provides wage-loss benefits, medical coverage, and support to help people get back to work after a workplace accident. WSIB will also cover the cost of dental work needed to repair damage to your teeth that impacts your ability to eat or speak, or that is needed to restore your smile.
What to Do When a Tooth is Knocked Out
Having one or several teeth knocked out is a medical emergency. If it happens, you need to see a dentist or doctor right away to have looked after. It may be possible to save a tooth that has been knocked out, however, it has to be done quickly, and without damaging the tooth’s root. The best bet is to pick up the tooth by the crown (the biting surface) avoiding touching the root. Rinse the tooth with water, reinsert it into the socket, and gently bite down to keep it in place until you can get to the dentist or periodontist. Of course, an injury to your face severe enough to knock out teeth is also likely to have caused a concussion, or other trauma to your face or body that needs medical attention. In these cases, saving a missing tooth may not be the top priority for first responders.
Even if your tooth is only broken or loosened in the accident, you may end up losing it anyway if the damage is severe enough. Your dentist or periodontist will assess the injured tooth and determine whether or not it can be saved. Either way, if you end up losing a tooth at the time of the accident, or afterward, there are several good options for replacing it including a permanent dental implant.
Of all of the replacement options, which include dental bridges and removable partial dentures, dental implants most closely mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Implants involve inserting a titanium screw that acts as a root fusing to the jawbone giving implants the structure and strength of real teeth. Implants can help maintain facial structure and prevent eventual deterioration of the surrounding teeth that occurs when teeth are missing.
Another Reason to Always Take Care of Your Teeth
Your periodontist must first perform a full assessment of your oral health to determine if you are a candidate for a dental implant. Some pre-existing conditions such as gum disease or deterioration and bone loss may mean that an implant would not be successful, therefore your periodontist will not attempt it. The good news is that additional periodontal work can be done to correct these issues before inserting an implant so that you can still get the benefits of an implant over other teeth replacement options.
Your periodontist and his or her staff should be able to help you better understand the process of a workers compensation claim for dental work through WSIB, and whether or not the cost of dental implants or other restorations will be covered. WSIB may not pay for repairing issues that were existing before the accident, especially if they are due deemed to have been caused by poor oral hygiene or neglect on your part. So, if avoiding periodontal and gum disease isn’t enough of an incentive, keeping your teeth and gums healthy is good insurance against an average day that suddenly goes wrong.
Dr. Quyen Su is a periodontist in Mississauga, specializing in dental implants, gum grafting, crown lengthening, the Chao pinhole surgical technique and more. If you have lost a tooth in an accident Periodontal Associates wants to help you with a missing tooth assessment and recommendations to repair your smile. Call us at 1-800-341-7471 or connect via email at [email protected]