While teeth are very strong, cracked or broken teeth are actually fairly common. A fall, rotting of the teeth, an impact to the mouth, or even biting
down on something hard can cause a tooth to fracture, chip, or break. To preserve the remainder of the tooth, any broken or fractured tooth should be treated as soon as possible.
What to Do When You Discover a Damaged Tooth
1. Take Immediate Action
When you first discover a damaged or fractured tooth, you should take immediate action. If pieces of the tooth have broken off, gather them up and save them for your dentist. Then, rinse out your mouth and any pieces of the
teeth in warm water. Pack the spot with gauze to stop any bleeding, and apply an ice pack to the exterior of the mouth to reduce swelling. If you are unable to see a dentist immediately, you can also purchase over-the-counter dental cement to temporarily cover the exposed part of the tooth.
2. Call A Dentist
Broken and fractured teeth
require professional dental care. Often a damaged tooth is made evident by pain, which signifies the exposure of nerves. Whether you feel pain or not, once a damaged tooth is discovered, you should make an appointment with your dentist as quickly as possible. Your dentist will be able to identify the extent of the damage and determine the appropriate treatment.
What a Dentist Can Do To Help
The treatment your dentist uses will depend on the type and extent of the damage. Here are some basic explanations of the different types of tooth fracture and the corresponding treatments:
1. Surface Cracks
Cracks in the surface, or enamel, of the tooth do not always require professional treatment. However, your dentist can polish the surface of the tooth to smooth the cracks.
2. Cracks in the Tooth
If a cracked tooth is treated quickly, the cracks can often be simply filled. In cases of more extensive damage, a crown may be used to protect the tooth, and if the nerves have been affected, a root canal may be necessary.
Chipped teeth can often be polished to smooth the roughened edges. Large chips can be filled with dental filler, the same as cracks. A chipped tooth may be easily treated, but you should still visit your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
4. Deep Breaks or Split Teeth
A broken tooth can expose the nerve, causing pain and bleeding. A root canal is usually done to remove the affected nerves, and a crown is placed to protect the remainder of the tooth. Similarly, if a tooth splits vertically, the nerves and interior of the tooth are exposed. In this case, a root canal would be necessary, damaged roots would be removed, and a crown would be placed over the remaining roots. If damaged beyond repair, the tooth would simply be removed.
5. Decay-Related Damage
In the case of cavities, damage to the tooth grows from the inside out. In these instances, your dentist will be able to determine the extent of the damage, and treatment may range from filling the cavity to complete removal of the tooth in more severe cases.
A damaged tooth can be a serious issue, and teeth problems should never be treated at home without professional assistance. When you discover a damaged or fractured tooth, you should call your dentist right away to schedule a visit for tooth repair. If you act quickly, you may be able to prevent further damage to the tooth.