Hopefully, you’re not reading this article because you or your loved one just cracked or broke a tooth after crunching into a piece of leftover Halloween candy. But if that’s the case, you can do a few things before you get to your dentist, because you should see your dentist as soon as reasonably possible.
Failing to address a broken, fractured, or chipped tooth could lead to further damage and infection, resulting in the loss of the tooth.
What Should You Do Before Seeing Your Dentist?
Don’t panic. You’ll be amazed to see how you can mitigate the damage and what your dentist will eventually be able to do to fix your smile.
Rinse your mouth with warm or salt water. If you are in pain, consider taking acetaminophen or the pain relief medication that typically works for you or as prescribed by your doctor.
Next, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. If your tooth is chipped, check if there is any bleeding in your mouth due to the chipped tooth. If you notice bleeding, apply pressure to the affected area with a piece of gauze or a napkin. If you have access to sugar-free gum, it is always a good idea to cover the tooth to avoid any cuts to your lips, cheeks or tongue.
If your tooth is broken, you should follow the same steps as a chipped tooth and apply an icepack to your cheek if you notice any swelling. We also recommend covering the broken tooth with milk or a saline solution. Remember that you may not feel pain if the break has not travelled to the nerve, but you should still follow these steps and contact your dentist.
In any event, you should not brush your teeth until you get to your dental clinic. It would be best if you also refrained from eating hard foods as well. If you need to eat, choose soft or liquid foods and avoid biting down on the broken or chipped tooth.
What About A Knocked Out Tooth?
Believe it or not, putting the tooth back in your mouth may be possible. Ideally, your dentist can do this if you can get to your dental clinic right away, preferably within one hour of sustaining the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your dentist may be able to place the tooth that came out back in its initial position or place an artificial tooth instead.
If you cannot get to the dental clinic within the hour, you can attempt to put it back in its socket yourself, but you need to do this as soon as possible. Please ensure the tooth is clean (you can carefully rinse it with cold water or milk, but do not use mouthwash, toothpaste or other solutions) and hold it by the crown (top portion of the tooth). Avoid touching or holding the tooth by its root to prevent damaging the cells that will connect the tooth to its socket.
Once the tooth has been placed back in its original spot, gently bite down on a clean piece of cloth or napkin until you get to the dental clinic. While you may hesitate to perform this procedure, remember that time is of the essence since the cells at the root of the tooth will dry up if you don’t put the tooth back in its socket as soon as possible. Once your dentist can see you, they will likely use a splint to connect the tooth to a neighbouring tooth. Your dentist will discuss the next steps with you.
How Long Does The Process Take?
It will all depend on the severity of the damage. If only a small piece of enamel was broken, your dentist might be able to repair your tooth right away without you having to attend the clinic a second time.
Your dentist will discuss different options, including fillings, bonding, crowns and root canal treatment. If your tooth is chipped, then only a tiny piece of enamel will have come off, and your dentist might only need to repair the tooth with a filling or may recommend bonding your tooth if it is easily visible when you smile. More complex treatments, such as root canal treatment, may be necessary if your tooth has been severely fractured.
Contact us today to schedule your dental visit today.