If you've been through a car accident and are experiencing tooth or jaw discomfort but none of your teeth are chipped or missing, you may feel like there's nothing to worry about. After all, general soreness and discomfort is a common symptom after a car accident. However, your teeth may have been damaged in a way that could cause long-term problems, and you should see a dentist right away. This guide will explain how your teeth may have been damaged in the accident, what symptoms you should look for, and what you can do about it.


When your face hits a steering wheel, window, or another hard surface during a car accident, it can result in a blunt force injury to your teeth and jaw. Sometimes this will result in a tooth falling out or breaking, but in some cases, the damage isn't necessarily obvious. However, lingering discomfort may indicate that the blunt force has repositioned your tooth.


Other than pain, there are a few symptoms that you can expect if you're experiencing this problem. 

Repositioned teeth may appear shorter, longer, tilted or even twisted, depending on how the blunt force affected them. If you don't have a perfect mental image of your teeth, consider looking through photos where you were smiling to compare to how your teeth look now.

Affected teeth may also seem wiggly or loose, like when a baby tooth is on the verge of falling out. If one of your teeth is noticeably loose, don't wiggle it. Keeping it where it is will allow the tooth to continue receiving key nutrients and blood flow that the tooth's root needs to survive. If you poke it and it does fall out, store the tooth in a glass of milk and get to an emergency dentist immediately. The less time the tooth is out of your jaw, the more likely your dentist will be able to restore it.


If you've experienced any of these symptoms, getting to a dentist right away is critical. After the trauma, the bone in your jaw will be more pliable than usual, which will make it easier for your dentist to reposition the tooth. In this best-case scenario, simply adjusting the tooth and splinting it while the bone heals is all that's necessary to fix the problem.

However, once the bone has healed and stiffened, repositioning a tooth may require more invasive procedures, like surgery, to cut the bone and adjust the tooth.

Pain is your body's way of communicating that there's something wrong that needs your attention. If you think there's a chance that your teeth may have been damaged in an accident, don't delay. See an emergency dentist right away to have your mouth examined and any damage repaired.