Our teeth are made to withstand lots of wear and tear. Tooth enamel, the outer surface of your teeth, is the hardest substance in the human body, stronger than our bones even, but as we live longer, and expose our teeth to stress from clenching, grinding or chewing on hard objects, we can put that substance to the test. Falling, getting hit in the face, or biting down on something hard, especially if your tooth has already begun to decay, can also cause a tooth to chip or break.
Chipped teeth make up the majority of dental injuries, and most of them can be repaired, either by reattaching the broken piece of tooth enamel, or by bonding a tooth-colored filling or crown in place. If your tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further or become infected, possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth.
In the meantime, try the following self-care measures:
- If the tooth is painful, take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. Rinse your mouth with salt water.
- If the break has caused a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to keep it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
- If you must eat, eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth.
Once you get to the dentist, treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it’s damaged. If only a small piece of enamel broke off, an affordable Chandler dentist can usually do the repair in one office visit. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure. Treatment can include: dental fillings or bonding, a dental crown, veneers, or if a tooth chip or break is large enough to expose the pulp, a root canal may be necessary.