Our bodies are created to handle all kinds of stress. The tall among us can confirm that our skulls can take quite a beating from objects that are closer than they appear without so much as a lasting headache. Our teeth, too, can sustain a lot of stress, from soft, cold ice cream, to hot, hard, overdone turkey at Thanksgiving. There are times, however, when blunt force trauma or decay cause a tooth to begin to fracture, or even break. Here’s what you should do if your tooth breaks.
The most important thing to do if you notice a fracture (crack in the tooth) or break (a part of the tooth comes off) in one of your teeth is go to the dentist. Fractures can quickly develop into more serious dental problems, and breaks are a serious problem onto themselves. On your way to the dentist, you may want to rinse your mouth out with warm water. Bleeding may occur when a tooth is damaged; should this be the case, apply gentle pressure over gauze on the tooth to stop the bleeding. A cold pack can help reduce swelling and pain, as can ibuprofen or other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory analgesics Sometimes tooth damage may occur when we are unable to get to a dentist’s immediately; should this be the case, dental cement is available in some pharmacies to temporarily patch the tooth.
There are many different types of fractures and breaks, and they’ll all be dealt with differently by your dentist. Surface-level cracks which haven’t compromised the integrity of the tooth may simply be polished out. More severe cracks will be treated with filling or crowning the tooth; if the nerve has been damaged, a root canal may be in order. Chipped teeth may be filled for cosmetic and sensory purposes, but mild chips don’t necessarily need repair. Very serious breaks will almost always necessitate a root canal, and will often mean the tooth needs to be removed, as it’s integrity will be too compromised for a crown to be appropriate.
Teeth are incredibly durable, and breaks from impact are uncommon. Oftentimes, when a tooth chips or breaks easily, it is because it’s integrity has already been compromised in some way; oftentimes, this is because cavities have caused the tooth to decay from the inside out. Prevention is always best when it comes to your oral health, and to avoid a nasty break, it’s in your best interest to brush and floss daily. When you are engaged in risky activities where you are more likely to have your mouth impacted, you should wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
A broken tooth is a dental emergency, which can lead to pain, swelling, and infection in the mouth. Should you experience a broken tooth, go to an emergency dentist right away to ensure you’ll stay in good health.