Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tips for a Broken Tooth

When a tooth is damaged – chipped, cracked or broken – it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible, regardless of the pain level. Not all damaged teeth hurt, and if left untreated, you run the risk of infection and tooth loss. An infected tooth may reveal itself as untreatable sinus problems or headaches. Your dentist will examine the damage and determine if it will impede the health of the tooth or if a cosmetic restoration is the solution.

What Causes A Tooth to Break?

Dental trauma can result from any number of incidents, including:

  • Cavities
  • Old dental work, including fillings that have come loose
  • Being hit in the face, jaw or mouth
  • A fall or impact
  • Biting onto something hard

What Can You Do?

Sometimes, damage goes unnoticed or ignored until discomfort is consistent. You may feel pain while biting or chewing food or feel sensitivities to hot and cold temperatures. There are ways to address the discomfort that comes with trauma, but there is no substitute for professional help. With any dental emergency it is best to see your dentist as soon as possible.

Cracked Tooth

Fractures in the tooth are hard to identify with the naked eye – especially if they develop in a hard to see tooth, such as a molar. The tooth may look okay, but biting, chewing, and differentiating temperatures can cause pain. If the tooth hurts constantly, there may be a bigger problem at hand, such as interior infection attacking nerves, blood vessels and the roots. A cracked tooth cannot be treated at home, and you should contact your dentist immediately.

Broken Tooth

A broken tooth also needs professional treatment. However, to help with the process it is best to save any pieces of the tooth that you can. Rinse using warm water and stop any bleeding by applying a piece of gauze to the area until it stops. A cold compress can be used to reduce swelling and help with the pain. Depending on the severity of the break, it may result in exposed or damaged nerves which leaves the tooth open to infection. The tooth should be treated as soon as possible.

Prevention is Key

Tooth trauma cannot always be prevented, but some steps can be taken to avoid cracking, chipping or breaking teeth:

  • Mouthguard – always wear a guard over teeth when playing sports 
  • Food – avoid biting down on hard food items such as ice and popcorn kernels
  • Use Scissors – opening packaging with teeth can actually cause serious damage to the teeth. Use scissors and avoid mouth trauma.

If you have experienced dental trauma or have a consistent toothache, contact our Rainier dental office to schedule an appointment. Northwest Family Dental offers a range of general and cosmetic dental procedures to help restore function, stop the pain and return an aesthetic smile.

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