A broken tooth is a dental emergency. Unlike the enamel craze lines that may cause cosmetic issues but typically don’t cause pain, breaks in your tooth are serious. You’ll typically feel pain, and in some cases, a portion of your tooth may be loose or even missing.
Although a broken or chipped tooth can occur due to a physical injury, it can also happen when you’re eating or even at night when you grind your teeth in your sleep. Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do if your tooth breaks.
- Do Call Your Dentist
Once you have a broken tooth, the tooth won’t get better until it’s professionally repaired. So the first thing to do is keep calm and call your dentist. You can take the opportunity to schedule a visit, but you can also let your dentist give you advice on caring for the tooth until the visit.
- Do Consider a Temporary Filling
Temporary fillings offer a very limited service when you have a broken tooth. If you’re not going to be able to see your dentist for over an hour, placing a temporary filling can help by:
- Keeping food debris from entering the area
- Smoothing rough edges to prevent injury to your tongue and cheeks
- Reducing contact with hot or cold beverages that might cause more pain
A temporary filling doesn’t reconstruct your tooth, keep bacteria out of the area, or prevent further tooth damage. It’s only designed to help mitigate some of the symptoms for a few hours or a day until you can get your tooth restored.
- Do Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
A broken tooth is typically very painful, and in most cases, you’re fine to take a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help keep the pain down until your appointment. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (like ibuprofen) can help reduce inflammation as well as pain. But remember, just because the pain is reduced doesn’t mean the problem has gone away.
Before you take any over-the-counter medications, check with your doctor to make sure that they don’t conflict with current medications or conditions.
- Don’t Eat or Drink Unless Necessary
Eating and drinking can cause more pain when your tooth is cracked or broken. So you’ll want to avoid eating and drinking if possible.
If you can’t get your tooth fixed for another day and a half, you’ll likely have to eat and drink something before then. But if at all possible, you should at least avoid solid foods, sugary or acidic foods and beverages, and anything that’s hot or cold. These types of foods are more likely to increase the pain.
Any pressure on the damaged tooth can also worsen breakage. This could be the difference between a tooth restoration and a complete replacement with an implant. So if you do eat anything, only chew on the other side of your mouth.
- Do Consider an Emergency Dentist
Like other emergencies, a broken tooth isn’t going to confine itself to business hours. If you typically use a dentist who doesn’t offer emergency services, they won’t mind a bit if you look for another dentist in the area because you’re suffering an emergency.
Typically, emergency services include quick appointments often on the same day or on a walk-in basis. In some cases, extended nighttime hours may be available as well. Your dentist may even be able to recommend another dental practice that does offer emergency services.
These tips will help you work through the issue of a broken tooth and take all the right steps to mitigate the damage and get it repaired quickly. If you’re looking for emergency dental services, get in touch with Crest Hill Family Dental today. We offer extended hours (until 7 pm) on Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide care for dental emergencies after the workday is over.