In case of ANY dental emergency, call our office right away at 973-379-9080! We treat emergencies the same day!
What if You Break a Tooth?
It can happen (and does!) at any time – breaking a tooth. And what do you do then?
While human teeth are extremely strong, under certain circumstances they can break, chip, or fracture. This can cause severe pain and makes your teeth susceptible to infection and further damage. If you think you’ve broken a tooth, there are a few steps you can take to alleviate your pain and keep the tooth as healthy as possible.
The first thing you should know is that a broken tooth is a medical emergency! If your tooth has been knocked out, try putting it back in place and come to our office right away. We treat emergencies the same day! (Do NOT try to re-insert a baby tooth but see our office immediately.)
If you are unable to come to our office, here are a few things you can do:
1) If the tooth was knocked out and you have found the tooth, hold it by the crown (the white part of the tooth)
2) Lick the tooth clean if it’s dirty (do not rinse with water) and put it back into position (for adult teeth only).
3) Bite on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place.
4) Come to our office as an emergency.
If you can’t put the tooth back, put it in milk and come as soon as you can. The sooner a knocked-out tooth is re-implanted, the more likely it is to embed itself back into the gum.
If your child knocks out a baby tooth, come to our office immediately. Do NOT try to re-insert the baby tooth.
What if you crack a tooth?
Look for a sudden pain right after impact or chewing something hard. If you crack your tooth severely enough, you’ll probably feel significant pain right after the injury. If you experience this, examine the tooth that hurts and see if there is a piece missing. If so, you have indeed cracked a tooth.
Keep in mind that you may still have a shard of tooth in your mouth. This can cut you if swallowed, so try to spit it out if it’s still in your mouth. Save the shard if you have it.
If you suspect you have cracked a tooth, look for swelling or inflammation around the cracked tooth. If you have trouble finding the crack, you can also look at your gums. The gum line around a cracked tooth may swell and turn red. Look for this symptom to help locate your cracked tooth.
Whether you know for sure you cracked your tooth, or are just having pain and can’t locate it, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Cracked teeth are treatable, but it is important to visit the dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
How to treat the injury until you visit our office
1) Save the shard if you have it. Put it in milk or saliva to keep it from rotting.
2) Rinse your mouth with salt water to prevent infections.
3) You can take an over-the-counter painkiller to help with the pain. Ibuprofen products like Motrin and Advil are usually preferred over acetaminophen such as Tylenol, because ibuprofen also reduces swelling in addition to treating pain.
4) Cover any sharp edges of your cracked tooth with dental wax or sugar-free chewing gum to prevent further damage to your mouth.
5) Eat only soft foods, don’t eat or drink anything especially hot or cold as that can cause pain.
How to prevent a cracked or broken tooth
The best way to prevent these situations from happening is of course to see us regularly so we can make sure we don’t see signs of grinding and if we do, it’s easily addressed with a night guard. Let us evaluate your bite and make sure you don’t have excessively large fillings and possible cavities.
As the saying goes, “a stitch in time saves nine”. In this case, saving you from having to leave that great dinner party with friends or intense pain…and keeping you healthy and happy.