What to do if you Break your Tooth

So you think you’ve broken, chipped, or cracked your tooth? Don’t panic! Although this isn’t the ideal situation you’d like to be in, there’s no need to worry because Gentle Dental Family Care is here to help. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to do if you break your tooth.

What to do

If you have a…

Chipped/Cracked Tooth: with a minor crack or chip you can wait for medical attention, but you will want to be cautious about eating foods that are tough to bite or chew. You’ll also want to be attentive to foods with extreme temperatures. Use over-the counter pain medications as needed. Gentle Dental Family Care is open on Sundays and late evenings so if you’d like to receive immediate medical attention you can schedule an emergency appointment here.

Broken Tooth: If your broken tooth is the result of a cavity or external event, you’re going to want to call a dentist immediately. In the meantime, these steps should be taken:

  • Rinse your mouth out with warm water or salt water.

  • Apply a cold compress to the check near the broken tooth.

  • Apply gauze to the broken tooth to help soak up the bleeding. If gauze isn’t readily available, a wet tea bag can be used as a substitute. Note, bleeding should subside after 10 minutes.

  • If you experienced a severe break, you need to see a dentist within 24 hours. If you aren’t able to make it to a dentist immediately, head to a local drug store for dental cement. It can be used as a quick fix until you seek medical attention.

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to help with the discomfort.

Tooth Avulsion (completely removed): you will need immediate attention. If the tooth was fully removed, make sure to handle the removed tooth by the crown. DO NOT grab the tooth by the root. A tooth that was completely knocked out could cause severe nerve damage. Don’t worry, replacing the tooth in the socket is possible, but treatment is most successful if done right away.

What your Dentist can do

  • Minor cracks—Also called “craze lines,” these are surface cracks that affect only the outer white surface of the tooth, called the enamel. Minor cracks rarely need treatment. However, your dentist may lightly polish the area to smooth out any rough spots.
  • Cracked tooth — This type of fracture involves the whole tooth, from the chewing surface all the way down to the nerve. The pieces remain in place, but the crack gradually spreads. Cracks can be repaired with filling material. The tooth often will need a crown to prevent the crack from getting worse. If the pulp (nerve and other live tissues) is damaged, you may need a root canal as well.
  • Chips — Minor chips don’t always need treatment. Your dentist may suggest repairing the damage with filling material to prevent it from getting worse or to make the tooth look and feel better. If the chip is very small, the dentist may polish and smooth out the chipped area.
  • Serious breaks — These breaks go deep enough to expose the nerve. They almost always cause the tooth to hurt and be sensitive. Usually, the broken part of the tooth will bleed. You will need root canal treatment to remove the exposed nerve and probably a crown to restore the tooth to normal function so you can eat and chew properly.
  • Split tooth — This means that the tooth has split vertically into two separate parts. Some teeth, such as your back teeth (molars), have more than one root. It may be possible to keep one of the roots, which will then be covered with a crown. First, you will need root canal treatment. Second, the dentist will remove any roots that cannot be kept. Third, you will need a crown to cover the root and replace the tooth. In some cases, when a root cannot be saved, the tooth will have to be removed.
  • Decay-induced break — In this case, the tooth has broken or crumbled because a cavity weakened it from the inside out. Your dentist will evaluate the cavity and recommend the best way to restore the tooth. In some cases, if the decay is extensive and goes down to the bone,the tooth may have to be removed.

Your Dental Health

When it comes to your health, both that of your mouth and your overall well-being, trust in the dentists at Gentle Dental Family Care.  Your dentist will be able to identify any symptoms and send you to the right professionals for further care. Gentle Dental Family Care is the best dental practice in the Kew Gardens, Queens NY 11415 area and we are open on Sundays as well as late evenings. For a teeth cleaning or exam, we recommend coming into the office or booking an appointment here with one of our talented dental professionals. All new patients may also take advantage of our $99 Cleaning Special that includes an exam and x-rays. To set up your appointment give us a call at (718) 849-9797. We also welcome walk-ins, to accommodate patients with a busy schedule. We hope to see you soon!

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