Teeth can be damaged in many ways; it can break, chip or crack, and it can really hurt. These damages can be mild or extensive, depending on the kind of injury and the current condition of your teeth. Unless the damage is a small chip, there really is no permanent way to get it fixed without seeing a dentist. In the meantime, while you are still at home, the best thing that you can do is address the pain, and protect the tooth and the inside of the mouth to avoid additional injury.
What to Do When You Break or Chip a Tooth
Medical professionals do not exactly advise home fixed for broken teeth. However, there are some things that you can do to protect your tooth and mouth. After breaking a tooth, immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. Apply pressure to minimize and bleeding, if there are any, and put a cold compress on the area to decrease swelling.
If the broken part popped out of the mouth, grasp it by the crown using a gauze pad and put it back into the socket if possible. Rinse it off with water if it is dirty. Do not scrub it or use any cleaning solution. If you can find the broken part of the tooth, wrap it with a wet gauze and bring it with you when you go to the dentist. Otherwise, soak it in a glass of water, milk, or saline solution and get it to your dentist in less than an hour.
To help with the pain, flush the inside of your mouth with warm water. Apply cold compresses on the outside area from time to time to minimize swelling. You can take over the counter anti-inflammatory and pain relievers, making sure that you do not go beyond the recommended dosage. Applying clove oil can also help, as it contains eugenol, a numbing agent that also has anti-inflammatory properties.
There are ways that you can protect your mouth following a broken tooth before seeing a dentist. If the broken tooth was small and has a jagged edge, you can use dental wax to keep the edge from injuring your tongue and damaging your mouth. Take note that this is not recommended for large breaks or if a section of teeth is missing. There are drugstores selling temporary kits that contain dental wax.
What Kind of Injuries Need Dental Treatment
The most common teeth that break are the lower jaw molars, mostly because of their pointy cusps that grind into the grooves of the upper molars. However, any tooth can break from injuries ranging from slight cosmetic changes to serious injuries. Deeper cracks can reach all the way down to the root or go into the center of the tooth in the pulp chamber. A dentist can diagnose the extent of the damage by closely examining the tooth, performing dental x-rays, or doing a bite test.
Not every break or chip is serious enough to require treatment. In fact, some of them are quite common, like craze cracks which are small cracks occurring only in the enamel. Still, you might want to still see a dentist because it is hard to tell just how deep the damage might be, if there are any. There are cases where untreated damage has led to tooth loss, root canal therapy or other complications because of infection.
It can be painful to break or chip a tooth, but there are times when they are not serious and require little to no treatment. However, it is still best to see a dentist just to make sure. In the meantime, protect your mouth from jagged edges using dental wax, reduce swelling and keep your mouth clean. If your tooth has been knocked out, see a dentist in 30 minutes. Also immediately go to your dentist if you have excessive bleeding or pain.