Handling a Broken Tooth: Prevention, Immediate Steps, and Treatment Options

Dental emergencies are a common predicament faced by many, with broken teeth standing out as a frequent issue. This guide will help you handle broken teeth, from immediate remedies to long-term solutions, aiming to fortify your preparedness for a dental emergency.

Understanding a Broken Tooth

Types of Tooth Breaks

Tooth breakages manifest in various forms, ranging from superficial chips to cracks that penetrate the tooth’s core, which can lead to complete breaks. The three different types of tooth breaks are:

Chipped teeth, often considered the least severe, might affect only the enamel, presenting minimal discomfort. 

Cracked teeth, however, can be more deceptive, sometimes invisible to the naked eye yet capable of causing significant pain and sensitivity.

Complete breaks are the most serious, potentially exposing the tooth’s nerve and leading to immediate and intense pain.

Common Causes of Broken Teeth

There are a lot of reasons why teeth break. 

Trauma, be it from a fall, a sports injury, or an unexpected impact, ranks high among the culprits. 

Tooth decay weakens the tooth structure from within, making it waker and more susceptible to breaking. 

Moreover, the habit of biting down on hard objects or foods can exert undue pressure, leading to fractures. Especially when your bite isn’t properly aligned, which is very common. 

Cosmetic Dentist Powell Ohio
Dr. Jerry Cheung
Award-Winning Dentist in Columbus, Ohio

Cosmetic Dentist in Columbus, Ohio

Call Bright Smile Dental today to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Jerry Cheung

Immediate Actions for a Broken Tooth

First Aid Steps

It can be scary when you feel your tooth break. But, don’t worry, everything can be fixed! With a broken tooth, prompt action is pivotal. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to cleanse the area and mitigate swelling. 

If pain is present, applying a cold compress externally can offer relief. Importantly, recover any broken pieces of the tooth, as they might be useful to your dentist for the repair process.

When to See a Dentist

The severity and nature of the break dictate the urgency of professional intervention with an emergency dentist. A minor chip might not necessitate immediate care, whereas a complete break with nerve exposure demands prompt attention to avert infection and alleviate pain.


Preventing Further Damage

Temporary Measures at Home

If you break a tooth, first try to collect the broken pieces (especially if they are large, or if it is a whole tooth). Then you should rinse your mouth out with warm water to clean it. Do this as soon as possible.

If you are bleeding, you can apply pressure. To reduce swelling, apply something cold to the affected area, like a cold press.

Until you can get to the dentist, being careful with what you eat can keep things from getting worse. Refrain from using the damaged tooth for chewing and consider over-the-counter pain relievers if discomfort persists. Dental wax can be applied to jagged edges to protect the tongue and inner cheeks from abrasions.

Foods to Avoid

Steering clear of hard, sticky, or overly sweet foods can forestall further damage. Additionally, abstain from extreme temperature variations in your diet to avoid exacerbating any existing sensitivity or discomfort.

Professional Treatment Options

Dental Procedures for Broken Teeth

A gamut of restorative options exists, tailored to the break’s severity. Dental crowns envelop and fortify the remaining tooth structure, while bonding employs resin to reconstruct minor chips aesthetically. 

Root canal therapy becomes requisite when the break endangers or exposes the tooth’s pulp, followed by a crown for protection. For irreparable teeth, implants offer a durable and visually congruent replacement option.

Choosing the Right Treatment

Deciding on a treatment hinges on multiple factors: the extent of the break, cost considerations, and anticipated longevity of the solution. A detailed dialogue with your dentist, weighing the pros and cons of each option, facilitates an informed decision.

Preventing Future Tooth Breaks

Oral Health Best Practices

Maintaining an impeccable oral hygiene regimen, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, fortifies teeth against potential breaks. Using toothpaste with fluoride can enhance enamel strength, providing an additional safeguard.

Protective Gear for Sports

For individuals engaged in contact sports or activities prone to facial impacts, the use of mouthguards is indispensable. Custom-fitted options offer superior protection and comfort, significantly diminishing the risk of dental injuries.

Table: Comparison of Treatment Options

TreatmentProsConsEstimated CostRecovery Time
CrownsDurable, aestheticCostly, multiple visitsMedium-High1-2 weeks
BondingLess invasive, cost-effectiveLess durable than crownsLowImmediate
Root CanalsSaves the toothTime-consuming, potential discomfortMedium-HighFew days to 1 week
ImplantsLong-lasting, like natural teethHigh-cost, surgical procedureHighSeveral months

Broken Teeth: Frequently Asked Questions

Can a broken tooth heal on its own?

No, unlike bones, teeth cannot regenerate. Professional treatment is essential for repair and to prevent further damage.

How can I tell if my broken tooth is an emergency?

Significant pain, bleeding, or exposure of the tooth’s inner layers necessitates immediate dental care. If you need assistance, call Dr. Jerry Chueng at Bright Smile Dental in Columbus Ohio.

What are the risks of ignoring a broken tooth?

Delaying treatment can lead to infection, increased pain, and potentially more complex and costly procedures down the line.

How much does it typically cost to fix a broken tooth?

Costs vary widely based on the treatment type, ranging from relatively minor for bonding to significant for implants.

Can broken teeth be prevented?

While not all breaks can be avoided, maintaining good oral hygiene, using mouthguards during sports, and avoiding hard foods can reduce risk.

Cosmetic Dentist Powell Ohio
Dr. Jerry Cheung
Award-Winning Dentist in Columbus, Ohio

Cosmetic Dentist in Columbus, Ohio

Call Bright Smile Dental today to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Jerry Cheung