What do I do if I break my tooth?

Most of us have been there before. You are enjoying a nice meal, or eating a piece of candy, when you feel something in your mouth that isn’t right.  Then realization, it is a piece of tooth.

Even though the enamel on our teeth is the hardest mineralized tissue in our bodies, it does have it’s limits. We can break or crack a tooth with an injury, biting down on a hard object, or even tooth decay.

First things first – see your dentist as soon as possible.  Waiting to do so can cause further damage or infection and you could lose the tooth completely.

Then in the meantime, here are some helpful items:

  • Sometimes there is pain with a broken tooth.  If there is take ibuprofen or another over the counter pain reliever, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
  • If there is bleeding, then apply a gauze to the area until the bleeding stops.
  • If the broken tooth has caused any sharp or jagged edges, try covering it with a piece of wax paraffin or even sugarless gum.  This may help decrease the possibility of cutting the inside of your mouth.
  • Use a cold compress against the outside of the mouth, along where the damaged area is.  This could help decrease any swelling.
  • If you need to eat, then eat soft items and try not to bite down on the broken tooth.

When arriving at the dentist, tell them exactly what happened to the tooth. The treatment may be different for different situations, depending on how badly the tooth is damaged.  If it is a small piece that broke off, they can usually get this repaired in one visit. If the tooth is severely damaged it may take a more in depth appointment or a couple of appointments.  Here are some treatments that they might recommend:

  • Bonding – If the area is just a small piece of tooth enamel that cracked or broke off, they may recommend that it be repaired with a filling.  If the tooth is a front tooth, or is in visible sight to others, they might recommend bonding. This is a resin that is tooth-colored.  The dentist will place a liquid on the tooth surface to roughen it so that the bonding material adheres. Next, they will apply an adhesive material that is then followed by the bonding material.  After they shape this into looking like a tooth, they use an ultraviolet light to set the bonding, or to harden into shape.
  • Caps or Crowns – If it is a larger piece that broke or the crack is significant and has a lot of decay, the dentist will recommend that they file away that part of the tooth and cover it with a Crown to protect the tooth and its appearance.  These crowns can be made of metal, porcelain, ceramic, or resin.

Whatever the treatment that you and your dental health provider agree upon, it is important to follow all instructions because it can relieve the pain and possibly avoid further infections. Once treated, most teeth will continue to function so that you can chew comfortably.  Talk to your dentist about your particular case and see if there are recommendations for further treatments.

Call Dr. Monica Neely at (405) 302-0100 for an appointment.  We serve patients from Edmond OK and surrounding areas.

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    About monicaneelydds

    Dr. Monica Neely, DDS is a practicing Dentist in Edmond, OK. Dr. Neely graduated from University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and has been in practice for 24 years. She then completed Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) Residency, a one-year post-graduate training in complex dental cases.

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