What to Do Following a Tooth Break

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Broken Teeth Can Be Incredibly Painful

Your teeth are incredibly important parts of your body. After all, they are what allow you to properly break up food to make it easier for your body to digest them. While your teeth are extremely tough and are capable of many things, they aren’t invulnerable. Unfortunately, they are just as susceptible to injury as the rest of your body. We use our teeth every single day, so it only makes sense that the risk of a tooth break is always around the corner.

Not every tooth break is a serious matter, however. Some are simple chips or cracks that don’t call for immediate dental care, while others are much more serious and threaten the health of the broken tooth and even your entire mouth.

Tooth breaks are fairly common. Fortunately for everyone, dentists and other dental care experts like the ones at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas have extensive knowledge and experience with tooth breaks. When you require treatment for a broken tooth, you shouldn’t have to worry about making sure it gets handled correctly.

However, it’s important to know that there is more than one type of tooth break, and each requires its own form of treatment. We will be going over common types of tooth breaks and how they are frequently treated.

Types of Tooth Breaks 

Breaking a tooth can be a difficult situation. More often than not, it is accompanied by serious pain and discomfort. Your teeth typically only break following a forceful impact, such as car accidents or sports injuries. However, other dental conditions like cavities can also lead to broken teeth.

Regardless of the cause of the break, you should always seek treatment as soon as possible. Some cases require immediate dental treatment, while others can wait.

Chipped Teeth

Chipped teeth often don’t call for immediate dental attention. You can typically wait to go see your dentist. However, you should still remain cautious following the break. Be careful with the types of foods you eat. Avoid eating hard to chew foods and avoid drinking beverages that are either too hot or too cold.

While you don’t need immediate medical attention, you should always schedule an appointment with your dentist to eventually treat it. If not, the chip can get worse and cause more discomfort. To treat a chipped tooth, your dentist will polish the surface of your tooth or smooth over the broken edge. They will then slightly roughen up the surface of the tooth to make it easier for material to bond to it. Next, your dentist will apply an adhesive material followed by the application of tooth-colored composite resin. They will then shape the resin to match the shape of the teeth around it and give it a natural look. To finish it off, they use ultraviolet light to cause the material to harden.

Cracked Teeth 

Cracked teeth typically involve the whole tooth. These breaks tend to require immediate medical attention. Sometimes, these cracks can be small and minor, affecting the enamel of the teeth commonly referred to as “craze lines.” These cracks rarely need treatment but can be treated with light polishing that smooth the cracked areas or minor fillings.

More serious cracks, however, do need treatment. These cracks start at the chewing surface and make their way down to the nerve. The pieces of the tooth stay in place, gradually getting worse over time. Sometimes these cracks can be treated with simple fillings, but in more severe cases, more complex treatments are needed.

To prevent the condition from worsening, a crown will need to be put in place. However, if the pulp of the tooth is damaged or infected, a root canal is often the best course of action.

Broken Teeth 

Broken teeth are the most sensitive tooth breaks you will experience. You should seek medical attention as soon as you recognize there is a problem. Broken teeth can mean several different things, however. For instance, a broken cusp occurs when only the chewing surface of the tooth, known as the cusp, is broken. The pulp is not damaged. A crown is used to treat a broken cusp.

For more serious breaks, however, more extensive treatments are necessary. These breaks go all the way to the nerve. Regardless if you are chewing or clenching your teeth, your tooth will always hurt. The broken part of the tooth will typically bleed, as well. The only way to properly treat these severely broken teeth is with a root canal. This procedure will remove the damaged pulp and nerves and apply a crown to allow you to chew and eat properly again.

Caring for a Broken Tooth 

While there are no at-home remedies to treat or fix a broken tooth, there are things you can do to ease the pain and protect your tooth from further damage until you seek the appropriate medical attention. If you don’t take the proper care for your tooth, it can become infected, threatening the health of your mouth and leading to the loss of your tooth.

While you wait for further medical treatment for your broken tooth, you can use these self-care techniques to protect your tooth from further injury or infection:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water
  • Take over-the-counter medication to reduce pain
  • If the break or chip caused your tooth to have a sharp, jagged edge, use dental cement or dental wax to cover the sharp edge to protect the soft tissue in your mouth from suffering further injury or discomfort. If you do not have access to dental cement, use sugarless gum to cover the area
  • Apply a cold compress to the lips or check near the broken tooth to reduce swelling
  • Apply pressure with gauze to help stop the bleeding. If you do not have gauze, a tea bag can also be used
  • Be cautious with the foods and drinks you eat. Chew soft food and avoid foods and drinks with extreme temperatures

Suffering a broken tooth can be quite painful, causing you much discomfort. There is very little that you can do to care for the tooth break on your own. You almost always need the assistance of your dentist. However, you can do things to prevent broken teeth, like wearing a mouthguard during sports and engaging in proper oral hygiene techniques. If you have experienced a tooth break and require dental assistance, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas immediately.