It’s a nightmare shared by many parents and something that can happen in a flash: your child is playing and takes a fall. They come up with a bloody mouth and you hope that it’s nothing more serious than a busted lip and not a cracked or broken tooth. But cracked and broken teeth don’t just happen to children and aren’t just caused by traumatic accidents – they can happen to adults just as easily and can be from something as innocent as biting down on something hard. Here’s what you should do if you or your child suffer a cracked or broken tooth.
The Difference Between Cracked and Broken Teeth
A broken tooth is when part of the tooth breaks away from the rest of the tooth. Smaller breaks can feel like nothing more than the tooth has a sharp edge that wasn’t there before. Larger breaks can be much larger and painful, especially if part of the root has been exposed.
A crack, on the other hand, can sometimes be more difficult to see but can be equally as troubling.
Cracks can be visible to the naked eye or you might be able to feel the crack in the surface of the tooth. But you might not be able to see or feel all cracks as they can often be so fine as to be invisible to the naked eye. Even so, even a fine crack can still cause significant pain or discomfort.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth can include dull or sharp tooth pain, and especially when biting. Other symptoms of cracked or broken teeth include increased sensitivity to heat or cold, or eventually even an abscess (infection) in the gums.
Treating Cracked or Broken Teeth
If your child breaks a tooth, rinse out the mouth with warm water and apply gauze to help stop any bleeding. Next, call your family dentist. Your dentist will probably squeeze you into their schedule to have a look and assess how serious the damage is.
If you’re dealing with a break, try and recover the broken part of the tooth and gently rinse any dirt off it under lukewarm water. If possible, put the tooth fragments in a container of milk – doing this will keep the tooth fragment from drying out and protect it from damage, which is very important if dentist can glue the piece of tooth back on.
If you can make it into your dentist quickly enough, they will take care of the problem. If your problem is serious enough but they can’t treat it right away, they might cover the break or crack with some temporary dental cement, protecting the tooth and any exposed nerve until they can treat it properly.
For small chips or breaks they might do nothing more than smooth any sharp edges. Cracks often need to be treated by drilling out the crack and filling it, just like they would with a cavity. If a sizeable chunk of the tooth breaks off, they might be able to bond it back on with dental glue. This type of repair can last a long time, often for 10 years or longer. In some cases, they might need to cover the front of the tooth with a veneer or the surface of a molar with a crown.
Cracking or breaking a tooth isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone, young or older. But most types of cracked or broken teeth can be treated painlessly by your dentist. If you or your child crack or break a tooth, make an appointment with your family dentist straight away. Orion Dental provides a full range of dental services for the entire family, and with offices conveniently located in Milton and Scarborough and with evening and weekend hours, you can trust us to help with any cracked or broken teeth you encounter. Call us today and book an appointment!
P.S. The holidays and end of the year are just around the corner! Don’t forget those treatments you wanted to get done … book an appointment today!