Ouch! Have you taken a bite of food and experienced a sharp pain? When your teeth crack or chip, you may feel embarrassed, especially if it occurs at the front of your mouth. Don’t panic - there are a few immediate steps you can take to manage your pain and discomfort.
What causes a cracked tooth? Physical trauma, like an injury from a sports game, can chip a tooth. Biting down on something that’s too hard, like ice, candy, or nails can damage teeth. You might chip your pearly whites if you use your mouth to try and open plastic packaging. Poor hygiene and cavities make teeth vulnerable to cracks. Heartburn and acid reflux weaken your teeth, as does a diet with high amounts of acidic foods and sugar. Finally, teeth grinding (or bruxism) can wear them down and make them prone to breaking.
The first thing you’ll want to do is schedule an appointment with your dentist, and place any tooth shards in a sealed, clean container with saline water. If your dental emergency occurs after-hours, you may have to wait to see your dentist. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to alleviate any toothache. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water; this will help disinfect your mouth. If you are experiencing pain, you can take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Clove oil is another option; it contains eugenol, a numbing agent that has anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply a cold compress wrapped in a towel to reduce any swelling. Is the edge of the chipped tooth sharp? To protect your tongue and cheeks from cuts, use a piece of wax or sugarless chewing gum and attach it onto the tooth. When you need to eat, choose the softest foods available, like soup or smoothies. Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth with the broken tooth. Your tooth may be especially sensitive, in which case, also stay away from foods that are too hot or cold.
When your tooth chips or breaks, the most important thing to do is contact your dentist. They can repair the damage to prevent you from developing an infection or further tooth decay. A dentist may take a few different routes when reconstructing your tooth depending on the extent of the injury. Small fractures can be fixed by simply polishing away the jagged edges or utilizing a filling. This is done using a tooth-coloured composite resin that will look natural. The procedure is simple, quick, and typically does not require a numbing agent.
A dentist can improve the overall appearance of your teeth and repair cracks by applying dental veneers, as well. The porcelain or composite resin used is durable and natural-looking. Veneers can dramatically improve the appearance of your teeth, but they are not typically covered under dental insurance. A more serious break may require a dental cap or crown. This will protect the tooth while enhancing its appearance. First, you may need a root canal to remove any infection that can interfere with the replacement. Once the damaged nerves have been removed, the tooth will be capped with a crown.
Have you chipped a tooth? Dentists in Winnipeg can help. At East Kildonan Dental Group, we can fix your chipped, cracked, or broken tooth, and have you feeling better in no time. Contact us today so you can feel comfortable showing off your smile.