Maybe you fell and hit your mouth on concrete. Maybe you were crunching on some ice or hard candy. Or maybe you had a cavity that caused the rest of your tooth to crumble. However you damaged your tooth, the first step is the same: DON'T PANIC! Even though it can be scary to chip or break a tooth, your Peoria family dentist will be able to take care of you.
When you've chipped or broken a tooth:
• Call your dentist and make an appointment
This is important. Even a small chip should be assessed by your dentist. Putting this off could mean not only a great deal of pain but also potential nerve damage, infection and loss of the entire tooth.
• Rinse with warm salt water
This will help clean the area of blood and debris. If your gums are bleeding, use some gauze to apply pressure until the bleeding stops.
• Minimize swelling
Take an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen and put an ice pack on your cheek or lips over the tooth. This will help dull the pain and keep the swelling to a minimum.
• Cover any jagged edges
Until you can see your Peoria family dentist, cover any jagged edges with dental wax or sugar-free gum in order to protect your inner cheek, lips and tongue.
• If you have to eat before you see the dentist, choose soft foods
Try yogurt, soup, or softened ice cream, and avoid putting any pressure on the broken tooth.
When you see your dentist, there are a number of things they might do to fix your tooth, depending on the extent of the damage.
• Filling and bonding
This is for small chips and cracks. Your dentist will use a putty to replace the missing part of your tooth, taking care to shape and color it in such a way that it looks just like the rest of your tooth.
Veneers are covers for the entire tooth, often made of porcelain. They look like the rest of your teeth, and, if properly cared for, can last for up to 30 years.
This is for teeth that are badly chipped or cracked. A crown is a cap put over the tooth that protects it and holds it together, making it possible to use that tooth without doing further damage.
• Root canal
We know, we know, this sounds scary. But when a root canal is done properly, there is little to no pain, and your tooth will feel much better afterwards. A root canal is needed in cases when the chip or crack extends into the pulp of the tooth, which exposes the nerve. The procedure clears out any decayed tooth, removes the nerve, then seals and/or crowns the tooth to prevent further damage and infection.
Having a tooth break can be a scary experience, but it can be fixed. Take care of the tooth and see your dentist as soon as possible, and you will minimize further damage and feel better quickly. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, call our office today at (309) 688-7321.