Teeth are incredibly strong, but they can crack, chip or break in several ways. This can happen from biting down of something hard, being struck in the face or mouth, falling down or having cavities that weaken the tooth.
A broken tooth can be both unsightly and painful as nerves may be damaged. Extreme discomfort can occur when nerve endings in the dentin are exposed to air, and to hot or cold beverages.
If you have a broken tooth consult your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can determine whether the break was caused by a cavity, and if the nerve is in danger. If the nerve is damaged you will typically need a root canal procedure.
Until you get a chance to visit the dentist, you should rinse your mouth with warm water and apply pressure to any areas that are bleeding for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Next place an ice pack on the cheek or lips over the broken to reduce swelling and relieve any pain or discomfort.
If you cannot see a dentist immediately cover the part of the tooth that is in your mouth with temporary dental cement, you can find this over the counter at any drugstore. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin.
If you have a minor chip in your tooth a dentist might suggest repairing the damage with filling material to prevent it from getting worse and to make the tooth look and feel better. If the chip is very small your dentist may polish and smooth out the chipped area.
If you have a serious break that goes deep enough to expose the nerve. Chances are you will be required to undergo root canal surgery to remove the exposed nerve and a crown will be placed over the root and replace the tooth.