What to Do When You Chip a Tooth

broken wine glass

There’s a reason why broken or chipped teeth can often play a role in our nightmares. For many people, there’s nothing worse than eating something hard or crunchy only to discover a hard, sharp piece in their mouth that won’t dissolve.

Chipped or broken teeth can be caused by a variety of reasons, some of which can be prevented and some cannot. Good oral hygiene and care are the first defense against teeth breaking, but car accidents, slipping or falling down, or even very hard food can easily contribute to chipping your teeth.

When you first discover a broken or chipped tooth, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, calm down, and calmly start to care for your tooth:

At-Home, Immediate Care for Your Chipped Tooth

  • Rinse Your Mouth with Warm Salt Water. Rinsing your warm with warm salt water can help ease any pain that you might start to feel after the break happens. The salt water will also help diminish the risk of infection getting into the exposure.
  • Take Acetaminophen. Take an over the counter pain reliever if the pain from the tooth so too great, even after the salt water rinse.
  • Apply Pressure. Sometimes bleeding will occur when your tooth has chipped. Use sterile gauze to apply pressure to the area until the bleeding stops.
  • Contact Your Dentist. Contact your dentist to see if you can get an appointment to fix your tooth that day. If not make an appointment for as soon as possible.
  • Cover the Tooth. To ensure no further damage to the tooth or to the interior of your mouth, cover the tooth with dental cement, dental wax, or sugarless gum until your appointment.

Sometimes when a chipped or broken tooth is small, people will write it off and not go see their dentist. It is important that you see your dentist in the event of a broken or chipped tooth, however. Breaks, chips, and fractures can leave the nerve exposed to bacteria in the mouth that the nerve is usually protected from. If left alone, the bacteria can cause moderate to severe infections, so it’s important to see your dentist right away.

What Your Dentist Can Do for Your Chipped or Broken Teeth

Depending on the nature of the chip or break, your dentist will devise a treatment plan.

  • Large Chips or Breaks. If the break or chip is large enough to have exposed the nerve, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to remove the nerve. This will include placement of a crown or cap to replace the tooth that broke.
  • Medium Chips or Breaks. If there’s no damage to the nerve or the nerve has not been exposed, but the chip is still moderately sized, then your dentist will take steps to cover the break and restore normal function. This can be attained through a filling, cap, crown, or even a veneer.
  • Small Chips or Breaks. For smaller chips in teeth, your dentist can easily buff, polish and smooth the chip away, ensuring use of the tooth without larger dental work being done.

Contact Hamby Family Dental Center for Emergency or Cosmetic Dentistry

If you or one of your children have broken or chipped a tooth, contact Hamby Family Dental Center today for to ensure that your mouths are healthy! Call us at (919) 552-2431 or use the form below to schedule your appointment online.

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