Breaking a tooth can be a traumatic event; however, you can prevent long-term problems and fix cosmetic damage by taking quick action and seeking treatment. In most cases, breaking, chipping, or cracking a tooth is superficial and can be fixed quickly.
- Common Causes of Broken Teeth
- Vehicular accidents
- Sporting injuries
- Facial trauma
- Old amalgam or large fillings
- Deep decay
What to Do With a Broken Tooth While You Wait for the Dentist
After calling the dentist to schedule urgent dental care, there are several things you can do to minimize your discomfort and preserve your tooth’s health.
- Save the tooth pieces. In some cases, dentists can reattach the part of your tooth that broke off using dental adhesive. If you can save it, place the shard in a container with saliva or milk to keep it from deteriorating.
- Rinse your mouth with saltwater. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which means injuries can become easily infected. To prevent infection, rinse your mouth with saltwater solution for 30 to 60 seconds after each meal and morning and evening during your regular oral hygiene routine. This will prevent food debris and bacteria from compromising the tooth.
- Take OTC painkillers. If the tooth has broken off and exposed the pulp chamber, this leaves the dense network of nerves exposed to the air as well as any food or drink you consume, which can result in discomfort, from an intense shooting pain to a dull throbbing ache. Ibuprofen is the best painkiller available for these situations because it reduces swelling as well as relieving pain.
- Be careful of what you eat and drink. When eating and drinking, you can reduce discomfort and avoid further damage or infection to your tooth by modifying your diet. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Opt for soft foods such as soups, oatmeal, or pudding until you can visit your dentist.
You should also avoid extreme temperatures, such as very hot or cold food or drinks, as your tooth will be extra sensitive during this time. Try to serve food at room temperature to prevent any sensitivity.
Try to chew on the unaffected side of your mouth to avoid causing further pain or damage to your cracked or broken tooth.
What Treatments are Available?
There are a variety of treatments available to treat a broken tooth. Your dentist can decide on the best procedure after examining the severity of your situation. Some treatments include:
- Dental Crowns. A dental crown is a tooth-colored cap that is placed over the damaged tooth. They cover and restore the tooth’s shape, size, and strength and improve the overall appearance. When cemented in place, the crown encases the entire visible part of the tooth that lies at the gum line and above. Crowns are usually used for breaks that expose the dentin.
- Dental Implants. Dental implants are most often used when someone loses a tooth due to a severe break. If a tooth breaks below the gum line, a laser gingivectomy will need to be performed by your dentist to repair and clean the remaining tooth. If the broken tooth reaches below the gingiva, the most sensible option is to extract it and replace it with an implant.
- Root Canal Therapy. If your broken tooth has resulted in injury to the pulp, a root canal treatment is often needed. In this instance, your dentist cleans the tooth and removes the affected pulp. After sealing the pulp chamber with gutta-percha to restore structural stability, the tooth is topped with a crown.
Restore the Look and Function of Your Smile
If you’ve recently broken a tooth and require information about the best treatment for you, contact Steger Smiles for a consultation today. Our skilled dental team will have you smiling with confidence again.