Steps to Follow Immediately After Cracking or Chipping a Tooth
Accidents happen! Whether tripping and falling face first – resulting in a chipped tooth or biting off more than you can chew – resulting in a cracked tooth, these injuries could not only change the landscape of your smile… but they can also HURT. If you’ve suffered some kind of trauma that led to a cracked or chipped tooth, there are several steps to follow to repair or save your tooth. Time is of the essence!
1. Schedule an Emergency Appointment with Your Dentist
Between the change in your appearance (particularly if a front tooth is involved) and the pain that may accompany a cracked or chipped tooth, you’ll want to get on your dentist’s appointment book as soon as possible. In the event that they can’t get you in the same day, you might need to manage the pain. A cracked tooth can expose the pulp – where all the nerves are located. If blood is involved, you can bite down on a fresh piece of gauze to stop the bleeding. Try over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen and oral analgesics to minimize the ache, and sleep with your head elevated to reduce the pressure.
2. Lower the Likelihood of Infection
Depending on when you can get in to see your dentist for an assessment and repair, you may need to manage more than the pain – particularly where a cracked tooth is concerned. Food can get down inside the crack – increasing the likelihood of an infection. Rinse with salt water after each meal, and floss carefully – if able. You may be able to find an over-the-counter temporary dental adhesive to place over the crack – typically made of a polymer. Do not use a seal if you are experiencing throbbing pain and/or swelling.
3. Watch What You Eat
Because nerves are often exposed with a cracked tooth, you’ll want to avoid hot or cold foods, as well as sugary or acidic foods and beverages. Also, steer clear of hard foods – like nuts or hard candies – so you don’t damage your tooth further.
4. What to Expect During Your Appointment
Once your dentist has been able to assess your injury, there are several resolutions you can expect. If the pulp was exposed, a root canal may be in order to clean out the damaged nerves and tissue. This will protect the integrity of the tooth in hopes of keeping it from dying. Depending on the extent of the damage to your tooth, your dentist may be able to repair it with a composite resin – much like a filling. If the crack is fairly extensive, a crown may be a wiser move. At Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee, we are proud to offer same-day ceramic crowns that are constructed from porcelain. They are created in our office, are ready to be placed within 2 to 2 ½ hours and are designed to fit perfectly in your mouth to keep your tooth structure sound. For a chipped tooth, bonding with a composite resin may be all you need. For a more severe chip involving a larger portion of the tooth – particularly one that is highly visible – a veneer may be recommended. A veneer is a natural-looking, long-lasting solution made of porcelain. If the damage to a cracked or chipped tooth is too severe for repair, your dentist may recommend extraction and the placement of a dental implant to replace the missing tooth. That implant will be carefully matched with your existing teeth to reflect the size and color so it’s impossible to tell it isn’t your natural tooth.
To avoid chipping or cracking teeth, be wary of hard foods and objects that might damage your teeth (you’d be surprised to learn how many cracked teeth happen from biting on the end of a pen) and opt for a mouth guard and helmet when taking part in sports and riding bikes or skateboards. Lastly, if you know you grind or clench your teeth when you sleep, it might be wise to invest in a night guard.
If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, call Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee to schedule your repair as soon as possible. We often reserve time in our daily schedule to accommodate emergencies such as these. The fastest way to get in to see one of our dentists is to call the front desk at 770-945-5850. If you are not in pain or don’t deem it to be an emergency, you can also book an appointment through our online contact form at www.GentryDentistryofSuwanee.com.