A broken tooth can be a scary (and even painful) experience! Knowing what to do and how to react can help you take care of your teeth, and knowing how to prevent future breaks in your teeth can help you avoid dental emergencies in the future.
What Causes a Tooth to Break?
Teeth can break for lots of reasons, but the typical cause of a broken tooth is a bite into something that is hard, like a piece of candy or an almond. Sometimes people even break their teeth biting into relatively dense, chewy things, like bread or dried fruit. Teeth can also break in a fall or in a high-impact event like an automobile accident.
Risk Factors for a Broken Tooth:
- Presence of tooth decay.
- You regularly chew hard foods or chew on ice.
- You grind your teeth at night.
- You engage in contact sports like football or hockey.
- You sometimes expose your teeth to temperature extremes (extreme hot and extreme cold temperatures) within a short period.
What Are the Signs That You Broke a Tooth?
Sometimes it’s easy to tell that you broke a tooth, other times, it’s not so obvious. The most obvious sign that you’ve broken a tooth is a rough texture and a sharp edge on your broken tooth, accompanied by a little piece of something very hard in your mouth. Sometimes, people crack a tooth without noticing either of these signs.
Other symptoms of a cracked tooth include pain when biting down and chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and pain that occurs randomly in the mouth. If your tooth is cracked but not fully broken, you may not notice a rough area or any pieces of tooth in your mouth – so you’ll have to be sensitive to the other discomforts you experience.
When Should You See the Dentist for a Broken Tooth?
You should see a dentist any time you’re experiencing unexpected pain in your teeth, whether you suspect that you’ve cracked a tooth or not. If you display signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth, like a rough edge in your tooth that didn’t used to be there, see the dentist ASAP.
Before going to see your dentist, call ahead to let them know that you’re coming. Ask for any instructions that the dentist may have regarding your broken tooth.
If you were able to preserve your piece of broken tooth, wrap the broken piece in a wet gauze and bring it with you to the dentist. If you’re bleeding, apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding, then put a cold compress wrapped in a towel against your cheek to bring down any swelling.
What Can You Do to Alleviate the Pain?
If you’re in pain or experiencing discomfort, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication – but don’t take any more than the recommended dosage. Clove oil, if you have any on hand, has a numbing agent that can also stop some of your pain – but consult with a dentist before using this on your gums, as it can have some side effects.
If the jagged part of your tooth is scratching the inside of your mouth, you can also use a dental wax to cover the jagged area of the tooth. Dental wax can alleviate discomfort in your mouth, but it is not a substitute for dental care. Follow all manufacturer instructions when using dental wax.
What Are the Treatments for a Broken Tooth?
The treatment your dentist recommends for your tooth will depend on whether it’s broken, chipped or just cracked, how bad the damage is and what caused it. Sometimes teeth crack when there’s internal damage. If this is the case for you, you could need a root canal.
Your dentist may also recommend polishing, bonding or placement of a crown. Work with your broken tooth dentist to determine the best course of action for you.
How Can You Prevent Your Teeth From Breaking?
You can prevent your teeth from breaking by adopting good oral hygiene practices and by avoiding certain foods that could cause your teeth to break.
- See the dentist twice annually for dental checkups.
- Adopt good oral hygiene habits at your house. Brush your teeth twice per day and floss once per day.
- See your dentist if you notice pain in your teeth.
- Avoid eating hard candies. If your teeth are damaged or compromised, ask your dentist if you should avoid eating hard nuts like almonds.
- Don’t chew ice.
- Wear a mouth guard if you grind your teeth.
Have a Broken Tooth? Contact Your Broken Tooth Dentist
If you have a broken tooth, contact your dentist to get help. Kawveh Nofallah DMD can help you keep your teeth healthy and strong – and if you do have a dental emergency, your dentist can help. Call 863-648-5338 to schedule your appointment or seek emergency care if it’s needed.
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