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Dental Injuries from Automobile Collisions


Each year motor vehicle collisions cause millions of injuries for accident victims throughout the United States. The severity of the collision typically indicates the amount of injuries and damages suffered for those parties involved. Dental injuries, known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) damage, are often sustained by accident victims.

Unfortunately, far too many accident victims neglect to treat their injuries properly, largely due to the fact that many dental injuries occur during catastrophic accidents. In these situations, victims tend to address their more severe injuries, ignoring their dental problems, and potentially cause even further damage.

Types of Dental Injuries

Dental injuries can be either direct or indirect depending upon the accident. Direct dental injuries occur when the head or mouth strikes some kind of object. Indirect dental injuries occur when an open mouth abruptly closes, causing the upper teeth to crush the lower teeth. Any type of damage to the mouth is incredibly painful for the accident victim.

Treatment for dental injuries varies depending upon the extent of the injury as well as the number of teeth affected. Common injuries inflicted by traffic accidents commonly include:

  • Avulsed Tooth: Occurs when a tooth is completely knocked out of its socket. Accident victims must not pick it up by the roots, only by the crown. Next, immediately put the tooth in a plastic container filled with saliva, saline solution, or whole milk. Accident victims have only a 2 hour window to get the tooth back in the mouth. 
  • Tooth Luxation: Causes the damaged tooth to be able to move backward, forward, and sideways. Treatment for these injuries usually involves pushing the tooth back to its original position, although a dentist should be seen to ensure no further damage has been suffered.
  • Fractured Teeth: Acute dental trauma often occurs during catastrophic auto collisions. There are three general categories of dental fractures: Ellis I – a fracture in the crown that only extends through the enamel of the tooth. In these cases, the teeth have rough edges but are not tender and have no visible change in color.Ellis II – fractures to both the enamel as well as the dentin layer. In this case, the damaged teeth are tender upon touch and air exposure. Ellis III – fractures which involve the enamel, dentin, and pulp layers. These damages create a visible region of red or pink on the tooth.


Typically, during car accidents, dental injuries occur when the face strikes an object such as the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. Speed and the area where the crash occurred contribute to the severity of the injuries.

A few causes of dental injuries include:

  • Blind spot accidents
  • Construction zone accidents
  • Distracted drivers
  • Failing to obey traffic signals
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Off road accidents
  • Rear end collisions
  • Rollover accidents
  • Speeding accidents
  • Texting and driving accidents
  • Tire blowout accidents

Although there are many more common causes of dental injuries, these are generally the most common.

Representation for Dental Injuries

If you’ve suffered a dental/mouth injury from a North Carolina automobile collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. Maginnis Law’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard has experience handling complex cases including those involving victims who have suffered due to the negligence of another North Carolina driver.

We handle personal injury matters on a contingency basis. You can contact us at 919.526.0450, by email at or through our contact page.