When a tooth is damaged, steps need to be taken immediately to provide appropriate care for the tooth. If something has happened to a filling, or if you damaged a tooth because of chipping, breaking or a fracture, take some steps until you can see your dentist. If you don’t, the tooth will suffer other dental problems and infection may set in. You may even end up losing the tooth.
If your tooth is broken, chipped or fractured in some way, try to see your dentist within hours Most dentists will give emergency appointments. If the damage is due to a trauma of some sort, such as a car accident, you should try to be seen at emergency room right away. Immediately afterwards, you should see your dentist. Damaged teeth can be repaired most of the time. Your tooth may need more aggressive treatment, than they give at the emergency room, such as capping or filling to be restored to its original condition or even in order to be saved.
The first thing to worry about is bleeding. If you apply direct, gentle pressure to the affected gum area, not to the tooth itself, this can usually be stopped. Where you apply pressure depends on the area of the damaged tooth: you apply pressure above or below the tooth. For an upper tooth, apply pressure above the tooth, for a lower tooth, apply pressure on the area of the gums below the tooth. Rinse your mouth gently with warm water if there’s swelling and then apply a cold compress to the area.
If you find a piece of a broken or chipped tooth after you have had damage to a tooth, bring the piece or pieces with you when you go to the dentist. Since he has the required skills and equipment, many times the dentist can repair the tooth with these broken pieces. He will usually cement them back together, and that is cheaper and easier than having to replace the tooth. You don’t have to bring lost fillings if you find them, because the dentist can just as easily make a new filling for that tooth.
Depending upon where the damage was sustained, there may be jagged edges on the tooth that was chipped or broken. In this type of scenario, the sharp ends can irritate the surrounding soft tissue of the mouth. In order to prevent this, use a small piece of soft wax or temporary dental filler in the damaged area. It’s always a good idea to keep something of this nature on hand, in case such a circumstance should arise.
If you must eat, eat only soft foods until you’ve be seen by your dentist. Also be sure to chew on the opposite side of the mouth from the damaged tooth. If you chew on the damaged tooth you will cause further irritation and perhaps even infection, resulting in further damage or tooth loss. Also avoid extremely hot or extremely cold food. Foods that have extreme temperatures cause further pain and can further irritate the damaged area.
You want to make sure that the gums around the tooth close up and the blood is able to coagulate. This is because there is a lot of blood in the area of the gums. Avoid taking any aspirin products because they will interfere with the blood coagulation factor. Take Advil, Motrin or Aleve in small doses. You should be alright, as long as you don’t have any allergic reactions to these OTC medications. You should be able to get this information from your pharmacist, who should have a list of the medications you take.
If you follow these common-sense guidelines and take steps to repair dental damage, you will probably not lose the tooth, and you’ll increase your chances of keeping the damage to a minimum. If you visit your dentist regularly, and keep your teeth healthy and clean, you’ll also increase your chances of them healing quickly.
Chris Tillington operates the website and is a writer for UW Dental which is a one-stop research center for all the very latest resources and articles dental related.