What should be done when you get a chipped tooth?
Chipping or breaking a tooth can be extremely painful and worrying. You need to react quickly to the situation to avoid further damage to the tooth or any unnecessary pain. After chipping or breaking a tooth, contacting a dental professional should be the first step. If the incident happens on the weekend or during the night, a dentist may not be able to meet with you immediately. The following tips will help you reduce your pain and prepare you for this dental emergency:
Prior to tooth repair:
- Take a pain reliever: A chipped or broken tooth will hurt, especially if the fracture reaches the nerves and pulp of inner layers. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help alleviate the pain until a dental professional can repair the tooth.
- Use eugenol: Eugenol or oil of cloves is an antiseptic that is used in many dental procedures. It can be purchased over the counter and helps seal in the layers of the tooth, making it less sensitive. Soak the oil in a cotton ball or on a paper towel, be careful not touch or swallow the substance and place it on the tooth for several seconds.
- Salt water rinses: If you are unable to go out and get an antiseptic like eugenol, swishing salt water in the mouth can help to dull the pain. Doing this several times a day creates similar effects to an antiseptic but not quite as potent.
- Eat soft foods: The chipped tooth will be sensitive and subjecting it to hard food will be more painful. To avoid more discomfort eat soft or liquid foods and chew in areas of the mouth that are unaffected.
- Avoid extreme temperatures: In addition to avoiding hard foods, staying away from extremely cold or hot foods is equally important. Chipped teeth are particularly sensitive to temperature. Room temperature and soft food are gentler on sensitive teeth.
Fixing the tooth:
- Call and schedule your appointment with Orchid Family Dental ASAP: A dental professional will prescribe pain relievers if needed and have recommendations of the best way of repairing the broken tooth. Call your dentist immediately after chipping a tooth to find out when they can see you or if they have any instructions on how to proceed in the meantime.
- Filling: The dentist can use this restoration to repair small breakages or chips. Fillings are available in tooth-colored porcelain and materials, making them seemingly invisible even if the chip is located in the front teeth. This type of repair is quick, easy and doesn’t typically require any numbing. Though not necessarily permanent, fillings are a good way to quickly repair a small fracture.
- Cap or Crown: The dentist might recommend a larger restoration for more extensive chipping and breakage. A crown is a tooth-shaped topper placed over the broken tooth after the breakage has been filed. This type of procedure requires numbing of the gums but is a long-lasting solution. .
- Veneers: Dental veneers are tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain or composite material. Veneers are used to cover up broken or unsightly teeth. The dentist will often recommend veneers for front teeth as they are easier to install and more esthetic than a cap or crown.
- Root canal: Root canals are needed when the breakage is so deep that the inner layers of the tooth becomes exposed and infected. Root canal therapy involves the removal of infected pulp, filling the chamber and often topping the tooth with a crown depending on the extent of damage. This procedure is not as painful as their reputation makes them out to be.
Any type of chip or fracture to your teeth is considered a dental emergency. You should contact Orchid Family Dental at 972-424-3555 as soon as you can. We can walk you through the steps you should take until you can see the dentist.