Teeth are incredibly strong. However, while they may not be considered bones, your teeth can still break, crack, or chip like other parts of the skeletal system when put under too much pressure.
Accidents such as falling, being hit in the mouth, or biting down too hard on tough food can result in a broken tooth. Other causes include multiple cavities in the tooth or fillings that are aged and are no longer able to support the tooth. Cavities have been experienced by at least 78% of the American population by the age of 17.
The pain that comes from the broken tooth is when the nerve inside of the tooth becomes exposed to air, high or low temperatures, or the applied pressure caused by chewing food. If the broken tooth or crack is minor, you may not feel pain. However, you can typically find the tooth fracture with your tongue because of its sharp edges.
What to do when you’ve broken a tooth
When you’ve broken or cracked a tooth, it’s important that you see your dentist as soon as possible in order to protect or remove the nerve of your tooth. Depending on the damage, an emergency dentist may determine you need a root canal treatment.
Until you are able to receive dental care, there are some steps you can take to help prevent infection and dental pain:
- Rinse the area with warm water.
- If your mouth is bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area while applying gentle pressure for 10 minutes. If the bleeding fails to stop, apply a black tea bag to the area. Black tea is full of tannins, which helps the blood to congeal and reduces inflammation.
- Apply a cold pack to the skin over the affected area to reduce swelling.
- Cover the broken part of the tooth with temporary dental cement until you can see your dentist at the earliest possible time.
What your dentist will do to fix your tooth
The type of dental treatment required to fix your fractured tooth depends on the extent of the damage. Minor fractures such as craze lines or minor cracks may only need to be repaired with filling material or you may require a crown.
However, if the damage goes further than the outside of the tooth, you may need a root canal so you can continue to bite and chew food without being in pain. Only in extreme cases should a fractured tooth require a tooth extraction.
If you have a broken or fractured tooth, it’s important you seek dental treatment immediately. Emergency dental care can keep the area from experiencing further damage.