If you have a broken tooth and you’re reading this trying to decide what to do, make calling your dentist to schedule an appointment a top priority. Don’t panic. But do call for an appointment whether you are experiencing pain or not. Provide as much information as you reasonably can about the cause and nature of the break. A few other tips to follow prior to your scheduled appointment are:
• If you are in pain, you can use an anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, etc.) that works well for you.
• Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water; that may also provide some relief.
• Is there a sharp edge on the remaining portion of the tooth that is hurting your tongue, the inside of your tongue or your cheek? If so, try covering it with either wax or sugar-free gum until you can see your dentist. (Gum with sugar could promote decay.)
• If you have a regular dentist, ask for additional advice about interim care and pain management when you phone for an appointment. There might be more specific advice based on your dental history.
• Avoid chewing on the affected tooth if at all possible. There might be other cracks in the tooth that could cause another portion of the tooth to break and either cause or increase pain.
• Sticking to a soft food diet is best if you will be eating prior to your dental visit.
• Don’t expect your dentist to know what will need to be done to your tooth prior to your visit.
What are my broken tooth repair options?
It depends very much on the extent of the break, and even which tooth is broken. If you’ve broken a tooth before, don’t assume you’ll need the same treatment, even if the situations seem the same. Your dentist may need to do x-rays or perform tests to assess tooth sensitivity to determine the full extent of the damage and advise you of all available options for repairing your broken tooth.
Treatment for a broken tooth can range from a filling or bonding to other restorative options, such as a crown, assuming that the tooth is not broken beyond repair. If you have a small chip in a front tooth, a porcelain veneer may be an option. A dental implant, which provides function and appearance most like your own natural tooth, is an option your dentist may propose if your tooth cannot be salvaged. Your current oral health and the condition of surrounding teeth can greatly influence what your dentist’s recommendation will be. Cosmetic considerations may also influence your decision if multiple treatment options exist.
Again, it’s important not to assume anything based on your own evaluation of the broken tooth. Get to your dentist quickly. A broken tooth is a tooth susceptible to more extensive damage. Don’t wait until you start to experience pain. You could lose a broken tooth that could have been easily salvaged with prompt action. Having assessed the situation, your dentist can provide advice on both immediate and longer term actions that can help you save a precious tooth!