If you have broken a tooth, you may well feel a sense of panic – particularly if the damage is quite extensive. Fortunately, broken teeth are a fairly common occurrence and an experienced dentist can easily assess and resolve the issue, restoring the function and appearance of your teeth.
Nevertheless, knowing what to do in the event that you suffer a broken tooth can help you feel in control and ensure that you do not cause yourself any further problems.
What can cause a tooth to break?
Enamel is the hardest substance in our body and as the outermost layer of our teeth, this makes them incredibly strong. However, this doesn’t mean that our teeth are unbreakable – far from it. Brittle and fragile teeth are more common than you might think and can affect anyone at any age. There are some things that can make brittle teeth more likely. These include:
Your genetics. Weak and brittle teeth or elements that cause them, such as soft enamel, are often inherited.
Suffering from advanced periodontal disease.
Renal disease, which affects calcium absorption and as such, the strength of our teeth.
Taking certain medications.
Brushing your teeth so hard that you damage the enamel.
Grinding or clenching of your teeth (a condition called bruxism).
Too many sugary or acidic foods or drinks.
Poor oral hygiene.
What to do if your tooth breaks
Exactly what you should do if your tooth breaks really depend on the extent of the damage. If you have a minor crack or chip, you don’t need to get emergency attention from your dentist, but you should arrange a regular appointment in due course. In the meantime, you will need to be a little cautious about what foods you eat as anything tough, chewy or sticky could cause more damage to your teeth. Your damaged tooth might also be hypersensitive so be careful with the food that is particularly hot or cold.
If you have a crack running down the length of your tooth, you will need to get seen by your dentist as soon as possible. There is a chance that if you put pressure on it, the crack will cause the tooth to break and split. In some instances, it will be possible to fix your tooth with a filling, but in most instances a crown, which is a porcelain shell that sits over your tooth. You may be fitted with a temporary crown until a custom-designed one can be created for you.
If part of your tooth has broken off, if you can find it, save it and pop it in a glass of milk to help preserve it until you get to your emergency dentist. Your tooth may also be bleeding, or you may be in significant pain. Take some pain relief at home before going to your emergency dentist if you need to. It may be possible for your dentist to reattach the broken part of the tooth. Otherwise, you may need a crown to restore the function and appearance of your tooth. If the root has been affected, you may require root canal treatment to make sure that there is no infection present as this could destroy the tooth.
If you need more advice on what to do if you break a tooth, contact our offices where our experienced dental experts will be happy to offer their assistance.