Dental accidents are inevitable. What you do in the event of a dental emergency can make all the difference between losing and saving your tooth. One common dental emergency you may have to deal with is a broken/chipped/fractured tooth. It is important that you see a dentist immediately if you experience this dental emergency because if it's left untreated, serious complications may occur. For this reason, here are a few things you need to know about dealing with a fractured, chipped or broken tooth.
What You Need to Do Before You Get to The Dentist
The first thing you need to do after you break a tooth is to rinse your mouth with warm, salty water. Doing this soothes your nerves. Also, soft tissues around the tooth should stay moist for most treatment options to be successful. Therefore, by rinsing your mouth with warm water, you ensure any such tissues don't dry out.
You may feel some pain around the area of the affected tooth. Over-the-counter painkillers can help reduce the pain. If you don't have any medications around, use ice packs. Ice packs will numb the nerves in the affected area. However, remember that this will only be momentary, so you need to get in touch with a dentist as soon as possible. Ice packs can also prevent swelling.
If you are bleeding, use a gauze or piece of cotton to apply pressure over the affected area. Doing this will help stop the bleeding. Tea bags may also come in handy in place of the gauze or piece of cotton.
What the Dentist Will Do
Treatment for your fractured or broken tooth will depend on the severity of the damage. How severely your tooth is damaged will also determine the length and cost of the procedure. Minor cracks, sometimes referred to as craze lines, are usually the easiest to treat. That's because the cracks are often surface cracks, meaning they only affect the enamel. Therefore, a dentist may only have to polish lightly over the affected area to smooth out the rough spots.
You may also suffer a fractured cusp, where the chewing surface of your tooth breaks off. In most cases, this doesn't hurt and repair may only involve restoring the shape of the tooth. Cracked teeth tend to be more serious because they extend from the chewing surface to the root of the tooth. Early treatment in this case is important to prevent tooth loss. Repair of cracked teeth may involve the use of filling material. Other treatment options for your fractured, broken or chipped teeth include dental bonding, veneers, root canal treatment, crowns and dental implants.