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How a Dentist Can Save a Broken Tooth
A broken tooth can happen with an injury to the mouth or from dental problems. A sports injury to the face, a car accident, or a lost filling are common ways for teeth to break. These situations can be frightening and traumatic, but a dentist can save a damaged tooth in some cases. The key is to seek treatment as soon as possible.
A broken tooth can range from a small chip in the tooth's enamel to a complete breakage that exposes the pulp and dentin. If you have a chip in the enamel, you may not feel any pain because there are no blood vessels or nerves there. However, exposed sensitive areas can cause pain. You may experience discomfort from the injury itself, even if those areas are not open. Regardless of the injury's extent, bacteria can build up and cause a painful infection if a broken tooth is left untreated.
What to do if you break a tooth
After you break a tooth, cover pointed edges with chewing gum or dental wax to prevent cuts and gum damage. Avoid hard foods until you have had the tooth repaired. Keep any broken tooth pieces in a dry, clean container and take them to the dentist. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Next, call your dentist to schedule an appointment right away. Tell your dentist if you see yellow pulp or red dentin. If the office is closed, visit the emergency room.
If your tooth has been knocked out completely, try placing it in the socket again without touching the root. If you cannot do that, put it between your cheek and gums or in a glass of milk. You should keep your tooth in moisture at all times.
How your dentist can repair the broken tooth
If your tooth has a small chip and you are not experiencing pain, ask your dentist if you need to have the tooth repaired. Your dentist may use tools to smooth it or apply a filling, crown, or veneer.
Cracked or broken teeth may need more prompt attention. Your dentist may recommend applying a crown if the tooth is cracked and the dentin and enamel are affected. The dentist may also advise extracting the tooth or performing a root canal.
A tooth that has been knocked out completely requires immediate attention. The cells on the tooth's root die quickly. You may have only a couple of hours to get the tooth reimplanted successfully. After stabilizing the replaced tooth, your dentist may need to perform a root canal.
Once the broken tooth is repaired, the dentist may want to follow up to watch for infection. If the tooth is not healing, your dentist may recommend placing a crown over it.
You can prevent a broken tooth by taking precautions. Avoid chewing ice and hard candy. If you play sports or grind your teeth, wear a mouthguard. Accidents can happen, though. If you have a broken tooth, seek your dentist's advice right away.
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