You can be having a fun day outdoors or enjoying a nice meal with friends or family when suddenly you damage a tooth. This damage may be a chipped, cracked, broken, loose, or completely knocked out tooth resulting in pain, sensitivity, or no symptom at all. Knowing how to deal with whatever happens, including what to do and how best to fix it, will be crucial for maintaining the function of that tooth and keeping your smile intact.
What To Do When You Have a Damaged Tooth
Your teeth can sustain damage in several ways and may be minor or serious. In most instances, you will need to see a dentist. Depending on the severity, you may even need to seek out an emergency dental office right away.
When such a damaging event occurs, or you recognize that you have a dental issue, you can take immediate steps to treat any pain or other symptom you experience while also protecting your tooth and the mouth’s interior.
Chipped, Cracked, or Broken Tooth
If you break, chip, or crack a tooth, immediately rinse your mouth gently with warm water. If bleeding occurs, apply slight pressure. With a broken tooth, try to find the piece that broke off and wrap it in wet material, preferably gauze, and take it with you to your dentist.
If you experience pain, gently swish warm water around in that area of the mouth again. Next, apply a cold compress to the outer area where the tooth is located to reduce any swelling. If you have an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain reliever (ibuprofen or acetaminophen), take only the recommended dosage. For a natural treatment, try applying clove oil to the gums of the damaged tooth.
If you lose a tooth, such as when playing sports, use clean gauze to pick it up. Grasp it only by the crown part and place it back in your mouth, into its socket if at all possible. If you can, rinse it with water before reinserting in your mouth. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the tooth with your shirt or tissues, and don’t use any type of solution on it.
If the tooth is too damaged to replace back in its socket, immerse it in a glass of water, milk, or saline solution, and take it with you to your dentist immediately.
Having a lost filling can result in pain or sensitivity when eating, drinking, or even breathing in cold air. If you are unable to get to the dentist right away, consider purchasing a temporary solution from your local drugstore. These solutions usually come in the form of a kit with temporary materials to tuck into the hole in your tooth. A tool to accomplish this may be included in the kit as well.
Jagged Tooth Edges
Chipping of a tooth can leave a jagged edge that can cut into gums, tongue, and sides of the mouth. To keep this from happening, use dental wax to provide a protective coating over the chipped area. You can usually find this wax at drugstores and some grocery stores.
Options for Fixing a Damaged Tooth
There are a number of options for how to fix a damaged tooth. Much will depend on the type of injury and the overall condition of your teeth at the time of the damage. Your dentist will examine your mouth and determine the best course of action to take, which may include one of the following.
The loss of a filling can, in most instances, require a simple fix. Your dentist will first clean and disinfect the hole in your tooth, then add a new filling. This new filling can be tooth-colored so as to blend in with your other teeth.
Dental crowns serve as protective caps placed over the top of damaged teeth restoring size, shape, and appearance. These caps can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or metal and are a long-lasting dental solution. Your dentist will need to prepare what remains of your natural tooth, make impressions for creation of the crown, and fit you with a temporary cap until that one is ready.
Dental bonding entails applying a composite material to the surface of a cracked or otherwise damaged tooth. Your dentist can mold it to fit the shape of the tooth or adjust that shape to match other teeth. The color shading will also closely match your natural teeth. This composite hardens with the use of a specialized light.
A dental sealant creates a barrier across the surface of a tooth, covering cracks and keeping out bacteria that can cause further damage. These sealants are most commonly used on molars.
Veneers are thin, shell-like coverings for the surface of teeth. Each one is custom sized and shaped for each tooth and is made of porcelain or composite resin. This option hides cracks and other damage to teeth while improving the appearance of your smile.
Root Canal Procedure
A cracked or broken tooth can have damage far beneath the surface. The inner layer, or pulp chamber, can become infected and require a root canal procedure. This procedure entails a local anesthetic and about two hours in the dentist’s chair. Afterward, you will most likely need a dental crown to protect the remaining structure of the tooth and allow for normal chewing.
If you lose a tooth, or the tooth is so damaged that it requires extraction, you may choose to have a dental implant. A screw-like device is implanted into the jawbone, upon which you will need a crown or dental bridge.
Contact Park Street Dental for All Your Dental Care Needs
Whether you suddenly damage a tooth or need to seek a solution for another dental issue, Park Street Dental is here to help. Our team can provide the treatment and solution you need and help you maintain a healthy mouth and smile. Contact our dental office to schedule an appointment today.