You take good care of your teeth. They are clean, white, and healthy. Even with the best of care, accidents can happen. Sometimes it may simply be biting down on something hard such as an ice cube. You hear and feel your teeth grind together, then ouch, here comes the pain. You’ve broken your tooth.
Your teeth can become chipped, cracked or broken in several ways including getting hit in the face, falling on your chin, or having a deep cavity. They can also be damaged if you grind your teeth at night causing a disorder called Bruxism.
If you’ve broken a tooth, what do you do? There are several important steps to take immediately to save your tooth. These steps can help prevent your broken tooth from becoming more damaged or having to be removed completely.
Home Treatments for a Broken Tooth
The most important step when you’ve broken a tooth is to get to your dentist as soon as possible. Until then, there are several things you can do to relieve any pain you may be experiencing and to protect your tooth and mouth from further damage.
As soon as you suspect you have broken your tooth, rinse your mouth out with plain warm water or warm salt water. If there is any bleeding in your mouth or around your tooth, place a sterile gauze pad over the area and apply pressure. Hold the gauze in place for approximately 10 minutes. The bleeding should stop or slow down. If the bleeding is excessive or won’t stop, contact a doctor immediately.
For any pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen. An ice pack applied to your jaw can also help relieve your pain and reduce any swelling that has already occurred or might occur if you’re injured.
To smooth out jagged or sharp edges on the broken tooth you can apply a temporary dental cement. You can purchase this at your local drugstore. For other quick fix options, you can also use paraffin wax or sugarless gum to cover your tooth.
Dental Procedures for a Broken Tooth
Once you make it to your dentist office, your dentist can determine how extensive the damage is to your tooth. If the damage is minor, your doctor can easily repair it. If the damage is extensive you may have to have a dental procedure done to save your tooth.
A tooth with a broken cusp can often get easily repaired. The cusp is the biting surface on the tooth. With a broken cusp, there is little to no pain and the pulp, the inside of the tooth, isn’t usually affected. This type of injury is often repaired by bonding the tooth. This procedure uses a resin to cover the outer layer of the tooth to make it look like it was never broken.
A more serious break can expose the pulp or the nerves of the tooth. This can cause pain and sensitivity to the tooth and surrounding area of your mouth. Your general dentist, or a specialized dentist such as an Endodontist, may have to perform a root canal procedure to remove the damaged pulp. An Endodontist is a dentist that specializes in the care of the inside of the tooth or the pulp. Once the pulp is removed a post may be inserted to help strengthen your tooth. A crown can then be placed over the tooth to give the tooth its uniform shape. A crown can help you eat and talk properly and prevent any further damage to your tooth.
Sometimes a tooth can break from a large cavity. An untreated cavity can weaken your tooth from the inside out. This can cause the tooth to break or crumble. If the cavity or decay is excessive and down to the bone, the tooth will have to be removed.
Preventing a Broken Tooth
Although accidents can’t always be prevented, there are a few ways to protect your teeth from possible injury or damage.
When participating in sports, always wear a mouth guard. Your dentist can help you to determine what mouth guard is best for the sports you and your family are involved in.
A good oral hygiene routine can also help prevent your tooth from being damaged by a break. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and eating a healthy diet can prevent cavities and help keep your teeth strong. Visiting your dentist for check-ups twice a year will help him regularly check for problems. Your dentist will be able to diagnosis and treat any issues before they become excessive.
A professional dentist office, such as Aesthetic Family Dentistry in Arizona, can help you establish a good oral hygiene routine for both you and your family. They can also assist you with any oral health issues you may have, including what to do if you have a broken your tooth.