How to Care for a Broken Tooth Before Your Dental Appointment

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Dental emergencies never seem to happen at convenient moments. When a tooth suffers a break, chip, or crack, it’s often possible to save it with prompt attention from Dr. Richard Blackburn and his team at Volterra Dental

You may need to wait for office hours (we offer same-day emergency dentistry services), but there are things you can do to bridge that gap, ease your pain, and prevent infection all while saving your own natural tooth. Immediately after the accident or injury is perhaps not the best time to hunt for information, so we’ve prepared this overview to help prepare you for an event that might never occur, though you’ll be ready if it does. 

Breaks, chips, and cracks

Breaking a tooth can take several forms, depending on the incident and the tooth or teeth affected. A molar might lose a bump on a corner or edge, while incisors are more likely to chip or crack. A filling may be knocked out, and while it may not technically be a broken tooth, it can create some of the same risks. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that the first thing you do after damaging a tooth is to rinse your mouth with warm water immediately after this type of dental emergency. This gently cleans the affected tooth and its surrounding area. 

You might be in pain, and tissue swelling could be around the injury. Use cold compresses on your face to help reduce both of these symptoms. If there’s any bleeding associated with your broken tooth, use a piece of gauze to apply direct pressure to aid blood clotting. 

If you locate the broken piece or chip, wrap it in a piece of moist gauze and bring it with you when you visit our office, just in case we can use this tooth tissue in the repair. 

Further pain control

You can take over-the-counter pain medications as directed to help control your discomfort or pain. Don’t exceed the recommended maximum dosage of these drugs. Clove oil has numbing properties and can be applied directly to the area around the broken tooth. 

Protecting your mouth

Tooth damage can leave sharp edges that irritate your mouth or tongue. Over-the-counter temporary repair kits can contain dental wax, which you can mold over these sharp edges to protect your mouth. 

If you must eat prior to visiting our office, chew away from the damaged tooth. Should you feel pressure around the broken tooth, try flossing around it in case debris is caught between teeth. Skip this if you have a large section of tooth broken off since flossing might create further breakage. 

Knocked-out tooth

It’s possible for a tooth to be knocked out of its socket without suffering any damage. While this is another case of a tooth that’s not technically broken, you can save a knocked-out tooth. Handling it by the crown only, you may attempt to place it back in the socket. 

If not, keep the tooth moist at all times by placing it between your cheek and gum, putting it in a container with milk, or using a tooth preservation product approved by the ADA. Any of these methods help to ensure the viability of the tooth as you wait to see Dr. Blackburn. 

No one plans on a broken tooth or other dental emergency, but at Volterra Dental, we’re ready and waiting to help. Contact us by phone or online at the first sign of trouble.