Work Compensation Dental Injuries
You would be surprised to know how common is a work-related dental injury? With the many restorative dental treatments offered at our Sunnyvale Dental Care Practice – including Workers Compensation dentistry – there’s no reason to live with a less-than-perfect smile. As we are specialized in emergency dentistry, we know how to provide your immediate care when you need it the most and how to get your work compensation claims resolved without any hassle.
The biggest difference between a workers’ compensation claim and other treatment plans is that workers’ compensation covers clinical care only for the work-related injury—as dentists know, teeth perform three vital functions: they enable a person to speak and eat, and they support facial structure. When someone is injured on the job and any of these capabilities become compromised, the employer or workers’ compensation payer is tasked with restoring that functionality to pre-injury status if possible. Sunnyvale Dental Care frequently sees patients with work compensation cases.
How to Get the Best Work Compensation for Dental Care?
Any trauma that impacts an employee from the neck up is likely to involve a dental injury. For example, dental trauma may occur as a result of car accidents, workplace violence, construction or manufacturing accidents, slips and falls, or falling objects. If dental claims are not properly managed, they can hurt the claim’s outcome, delaying the injured worker’s recovery and adding unnecessary — and usually hefty — costs.
Dental injuries may be less common than other types of workers compensation cases, but these claims present significant challenges, complications and costs. Given the infrequency with which these injuries occur, many claims professionals have limited knowledge of dental terminology, coding and billing procedures.
Here is how you can get the best Dental work compensation treatment for your dental injuries:
Locating a work Compensation Dentist
Finding a dentist who understands and is willing to work within the workers comp system can be challenging. The ideal dentist will know about the work compensation system, appropriate forms and procedures. It is important to know if you dentist accepts work compensation patients, call Sunnyvale Dental Care to know about work-related injury and work compensation coverage.
Appropriate Dental Treatment
Dentists who participate in a specialized workers compensation network will perform a prospective oral evaluation to determine what is billable in relation to the work-related injury. Your Sunnyvale dentist Dr. Antonious also present an injury-related dental care plan, which claims adjusters or nurse case managers can review and approve.
Dental Specialists Coordination
There is many types of dental specialists, including periodontists, prosthodontists, TMJ Specialists, endodontists and oral maxillofacial surgeons. Your Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Antonious has extensive in-house clinical expertise to help make appropriate dental referrals and coordinate dental care so injured workers receive the right treatment from the right specialist at the right time.
What should you do if you get a dental injury at work?
To some extent, a dental injury sustained in the workplace is similar to any other dental injury, but there are a few differences. For example, if your regular dentist does not participate as a provider in the Worker’s Comp program, you may need to find a dentist who does, like your Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Antonious.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be transported to a hospital to have your medical issues treated first. Most hospitals are not equipped to deal with dental injuries. If you suspect a dental problem, have the hospital staff document your dental condition. Your future dental treatment will move more quickly if your Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Antonious does not have to ask Worker’s Comp to allow an additional condition.
As with any accident, some problems show up quickly while others may show up days, weeks, months or even years later. The most common injury is a chipped or broken tooth. Other possible problems are loose teeth, knocked-out teeth, and TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ) symptoms.
Chips on teeth range from small to the tooth being broken off at or below your gumline. Even small chips can be painful or unsightly and lead to tooth decay. Small breaks can often be treated with a tooth colored filling. Crowns or veneers are also a possibility if the damage to your tooth is extensive.
Very large chips that expose the nerve require a root canal to keep your tooth. Even when a root canal is not indicated right away, it is possible that you will need one in the future due to the trauma to your tooth.
A loose tooth may mean that your tooth’s root has broken in an area that you can’t see or it could just be a result of trauma. Looseness ranges from very slight to noticing your tooth is no longer in the right place. Your dentist can determine if your loose tooth is the result of trauma from the accident or a broken root. Even if your root is not fractured, loose teeth are often painful and make it hard to eat.
If your tooth is out of place, visit a dentist as soon as possible. If you are at the hospital, see if they have a dentist who could put your tooth back in the correct place. (You will still need to see your dentist to have your tooth evaluated for possible additional treatments.) You may need root canal treatment or tooth removal for a broken root. Otherwise, your tooth may be temporarily bonded to the teeth next to it to strengthen it. If multiple teeth are involved or if your bite feels like it has shifted you might need braces to move them back to the proper place.
If your entire tooth (including root) is knocked out, pick up the tooth by the part you’d see in your mouth when you smile. Try not to touch the root portion and clean the tooth very gently by wiping off any dirt from the tooth’s surface. If possible, put the tooth back into the socket in your mouth. If you cannot put it back, place the tooth in Save-A-Tooth container (if available), or into cold milk. Time is of the essence if you want to try to save your natural tooth, so ask for a dentist at the hospital or go to a dentist right away.
Though teeth injuries are more common, your jaw can also be hurt in an accident. If you experience pain or difficulty opening your mouth after a trauma, you should be checked to make sure you do not have a broken jaw. If there is not a fracture, you may have TMD TemporoMandibular Joint syndrome. If the pain is mild, take anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen), rest your mouth as much as possible, and eat soft foods that don’t require much chewing. Sometimes the symptoms of TMD will go away without additional treatment. If not, your dentist may make you an occlusal guard appliance. Other treatment options include physical therapy for your jaw or professional massage of your TMJ.
Many of these treatment principles apply no matter how your dental injury occurs. However, if your injury occurs in your workplace or is related to your job, there are a few extra steps to take to make sure Worker’s Comp will cover needed care. Since many more workplace injuries are medical rather than dental, it can be hard to find a dental office that is familiar with Worker’s Comp. If you are having trouble finding an office to help you with your dental injury, we invite you to speak to Sunnyvale Dental Care insurance coordinator.