Broken teeth can happen suddenly as a result of a traumatic event (such as a car or sporting accident) or eventually as a result of decay. Regardless of the size of the break, there are a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself with a broken tooth:
Call Your Dentist Immediately
Call us immediately and let us know what happened. Let us know which tooth has broken we can look in your records to determine if treatment needs to be immediate or can wait a day or two before you come in for care.
Don’t Try to Clean the Tooth Off
Depending on how much of your tooth is broken off, which tooth it is, and why it broke (traumatic injury vs. due to existing decay), the broken part of the tooth could possibly be salvageable if it’s a large piece. If it’s visibly dirty, you can gently rinse it under water, or place it immediately in a cup of tap water or milk. Never scrub the tooth clean, as this can remove small fibers that help in reimplantation of traumatically avulsed teeth.
Try to Stay Comfortable
Broken teeth are sometimes very sensitive. Unfortunately most dental emergencies happen when we’re out of town or the dentist office is closed. It’s important to never put aspirin directly on the site of a toothache, as this can cause chemical burns to your cheek or gum tissue. If needed, take an antiinflammatory medication like ibuprofen. Avoid chewing on the tooth until you can see us for care. Otherwise you may risk causing the tooth to break further and be in need of more advanced treatment.
Seek Treatment as Soon as Possible
When part of a tooth breaks, the remaining tooth structure may be able to be restored. However, putting treatment off too long can cause something that just needs a new filling or a crown to become something complex such as a tooth in desperate need of a root canal. Never delay treatment; because treatment needs always become more severe the longer you wait to repair them.