Your teeth are incredibly strong and are designed to stand up to quite a bit of punishment. We are constantly eating hard things, drinking and eating things that rapidly change the temperature in our mouths, biting down too aggressively and generally pushing the strength of our teeth to their limits. Your teeth, however, are not indestructible. Biting down on something too hard, especially with a weakened tooth, being hit in the face or mouth, falling, cavities and large, old amalgam fillings that aren’t capable of supporting tooth enamel can often result in a broken, lost or fractured tooth. Here is what to do if you find yourself in that situation.
Cracked (fractured) teeth. There is really no way to treat a cracked tooth at home. A cracked tooth invariably requires a visit to the dentist. Sometimes a tooth can look fine, while still erupting in pain when eating and drinking. This is because hairline fractures, which are not visible to the naked eye, may be present. A dentist will be able to see a fracture, big or small.
Broken teeth. A broken tooth also requires a visit to the dentist. You can do certain things while you are waiting for a professional examination by your dentist, such as take an over the counter pain killer, or apply some over the counter numbing agent, but a broken tooth should be handled as soon as possible by a trained dentist in order to a) relieve the pain and b) prevent infection
If you have a broken or chipped tooth, below is a list of pain and infection mitigating procedures:
- Rinse your mouth well with warm water
- Apply pressure with a piece of gauze to stop any bleeding
- Apply a cold compress to your jaw area around the tooth
- If you are unable to see your dentist right away, cover your tooth with temporary,over the counter dental cement to seal off the area.
Chipping a tooth is a heart-sinking feeling. Once you’ve damaged a permanent tooth, there isn’t much that can be done to restore it to exactly what it was before, but if you take the proper precautions during the aftermath, and see a dentist as soon as possible, you should be able to continue on living, eating and smiling as if nothing ever happened. Remember: you can only do so much for a broken or fractured tooth before seeking medical attention from a dentist.