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Patients sometimes ask how to fix broken teeth. Sometimes they ask out of curiosity and other times after experiencing the trauma of a broken tooth. This step-by-step guide outlines common causes, what to do if your tooth breaks, and how dental hygiene helps protect your teeth.
Imagine enjoying a nice meal when you feel something hard break in your mouth. This is how many patients discover they chipped or broke a tooth.
Alternately, playing a game of softball when the ball hits your mouth. The burst of pain reveals something is wrong and it turns out that a tooth broke from the impact.
Those are just a couple ways teeth may crack or break. Often it happens unexpectedly. Hopefully, you never need to use this information, but if you do know how to deal with a broken tooth makes a big difference.
Step By Step Guide On How To Fix Broken Teeth
Common and Uncommon Reasons Why A Tooth Might Break
Before we describe how to fix broken teeth, you should understand some of the reasons that teeth break. Some common causes include:
- Chronic grinding and clenching of the teeth
- Pressure from chewing ice or hard objects can weaken the tooth so it may crack or break
- Weakened enamel may crack more easily.
- Trauma and impact such as an accident or sports injury
- Falls or collisions
- Cavities weaken teeth
- Old fillings sometimes don’t support the tooth well enough
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of dental care
- Normal wear and tare
What To Do If Your Tooth Breaks
When you discover a break in your tooth, call your dentist’s office immediately.
While your tooth can break at any time, your dentist’s office may not be open 24-7. Some larger practices offer emergency services you may be able to use.
In the meantime, try these tips from WebMD to ease the discomfort while you wait for professional dental care:
- If you experience pain, take an over the counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or Tylenol
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with salt water to help prevent inflammation
- If your tooth break has a very sharp edge protect your tongue and mouth by placing either a piece of paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to cover the edge
- Try not to chew or eat, but if you must eat soft or liquid foods and avoid chewing with that took
- Apply a cold pack to the outside of the mouth to control the swelling
- Collect your broken tooth if possible and also look in your mouth. When you call the dentist’s office the receptionist may ask a few questions to better understand the situation
Your dentist may suggest other techniques to control swelling or ease the pain while waiting for treatment.
For minor breaks, you may be able to wait a couple days while other situations may require immediate action. Dentists typically triage emergency care. Most likely, someone will see you as soon as possible to fix your broken tooth.
How Your Dental Team May Treat Your Broken Tooth
The treatment varies depending on the severity of the break. A dentist may fix a chipped tooth or a small break within one visit. For example, if you have tiny cracks, your dentist may simply smooth and polish the teeth. Some small cracks and chips require a filling or similar treatment.
Some sever breaks may require more in-depth treatment. In some cases, the dentist needs to create a crown or cap to restore the appearance and function of a broken front tooth. At Southview, we can complete your crown in one visit. For more information, see this article about same day dental crowns.
For deep breaks, your dentist may need to perform a root canal to save your tooth and save you from suffering.
The only way to know for sure is to visit your dentist for an emergency examination and treatment. Your best treatment options vary according to the cause of the breakage.
For example, if decay caused the tooth to weaken and break you may need different treatment than someone who suffered a break during an accident. Both are serious situations that require prompt attention from a dentist. After a thorough examination, an experienced dentist may determine the best treatment for your needs.
How To Prevent Broken Teeth
Prevention is always the best medicine, however, sometimes unavoidable things happen. You may decrease the odds of your teeth breaking by taking care of your teeth. Try the following tips:
- Since decay and cavities weaken teeth, see your dentist each year for a cleaning and exam.
- Avoid grinding or clenching teeth as this also weakens them. Consider wearing a mouthguard as directed by your dentist to protect your teeth from damage.
- Wear mouthguards while playing contact sports like boxing or hockey.
- Protect your face during falls.
- Don’t use your teeth as tools to open bottles or open packages.
- Also don’t chew firm objects like unpopped popcorn, olive pits, or ice.
- If you pierce your tongue, wear a softer silicone ring as hard metal rings can damage teeth.
- Practice good dental hygiene by brushing and flossing as directed by your dentist or hygienist.
- Always be careful while driving or riding a bike. Risky behaviors like texting while cycling can lead to accidents.
- Don’t chew pens or pencils.
In conclusion, when you consider how to fix broken teeth the answer depends on the severity of the break and the cause. However, in every instance, your first step is to contact your dentist’s office or visit an emergency dental clinic.
Southview Dentistry provides full service professional dental care to Charlotte residents. Don’t wait for a trauma to call, strong and healthy teeth start with ongoing dental care. If you need a new dentist, schedule a comprehensive exam and cleaning today.