Dental problems are never welcome, but sometimes life surprises you. Whether you’ve bitten down on something too hard or had a tooth decaying that you failed to seek help for, a broken tooth can be scary. You may be looking at a piece in your hand and wondering what to do with a broken tooth.
Just what you should do will depend greatly on the situation. However, it’s always best to get to the dentist as soon as possible. In some cases, the tooth may be salvageable, but only if you see a dentist immediately.
What should you do if you break a tooth? Let’s take a look.
What Should You Do If You Have a Broken or Chipped Tooth?
Many times, teeth develop minor cracks or chips, which don’t cause any pain. A dentist should check them to ensure they won’t allow bacteria to decay the tooth, but in most cases, they need no treatment.
If your tooth is cracked or has a large chip in it that causes pain, you need to get to the dentist as soon as possible. This is also the case if your tooth breaks in half or a chunk falls off. These types of damage will usually expose the nerve, and this can cause severe pain. In these cases, the tooth will only worsen over time and will need treatment.
You can take a painkiller to help with the pain until you can get to the dentist.
How to Care for a Broken Tooth
If you notice that you’ve broken off a piece of your tooth, it’s best to try and save that piece to take to the dentist. They will be able to determine the cause of the break and repair it in one way or another.
While you are waiting to see the dentist, do the following:
- Rinse your mouth with salt water to help reduce pain and keep the area clean.
- Take acetaminophen or any over the counter painkiller to ease the pain.
- Avoid biting with the broken tooth and eat soft foods only.
- Cover jagged edges with a bit of paraffin wax or chewing gum to stop it from cutting your cheek.
It’s essential to see a dentist as soon as possible since broken teeth may cause infection . This can become very serious, so you need to deal with the problem fast.
What Are the Treatment Options for a Broken Tooth?
Once you get to the dentist with your broken tooth, what can you expect? Your dentist will determine what to do with a broken tooth by assessing the severity of the break and the location. From there, they may use any of the following methods:
- Bonding: This method simply repairs small chips. The dentist will use a composite material over the chip and form it to look natural. When hardened, the composite should look just like the rest of your teeth and repair the missing piece. Bonding lasts around a decade.
- Veneers: If you have a significant chip or crack in your tooth, you may need a veneer instead of bonding. The veneer is a cover made of porcelain that is attached to the front of your tooth. Some people opt for veneers to improve the look of their teeth, even without cracks. However, they do an excellent job of hiding imperfections and should last for a decade or two.
- Dental Crowns: A dental crown or cap is designed much like a veneer but fits over the entire tooth instead of on the front only. If you have a major break where you’ve lost a chunk of your tooth, the dentist may suggest a crown. This will repair the tooth and protect the nerve while giving you a solid surface for chewing.
- Dental Fillings: If you have a molar that has chipped or broken off a bit, your dentist may just do a filling. They will clean out the tooth and fill the hole with composite or porcelain to match your other teeth and give you a good chewing surface.
- Root Canals: In situations where the root remains, but most of the tooth is no longer there, a root canal may be the best choice. This involves removing the nerve from the root to avoid pain and then adding a pin that gives space for a crown . You will be given a temporary crown to start but a permanent one later.
Don’t Ignore a Broken Tooth
Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’ve broken or chipped your tooth. Even if you aren’t in pain, it’s best to have a dentist check your tooth and make any necessary repairs.
Are you dealing with a broken tooth? Contact us today for an emergency appointment.
- Chipped, broken or cracked tooth. Retrieved from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chipped-broken-or-cracked-tooth/
- Root Canal. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007275.htm