A broken tooth can be a distressing experience. It can cause pain and concern for anyone affected. Whether it is due to an accident, sports injury, or biting down on a hard object, knowing how to handle a broken tooth promptly is crucial.
You can maximize the chances of saving your tooth and preserving your smile by taking the right actions and seeking immediate dental care. Read on for the essential steps to take in emergency care for a broken tooth.
It is vital to take a moment to assess the situation when you first experience a broken tooth. Look at the tooth and surrounding area to determine the severity of the injury. Is it a small chip or a large piece of the tooth that has broken off? Are there any sharp edges that could cause further harm? Assessing the situation will help you gauge the urgency and determine the steps to take.
After assessing the situation, the next step is to rinse your mouth gently with warm water. Doing this helps remove blood, debris, or dirt from the broken tooth and the surrounding area. By rinsing your mouth, you can reduce the risk of infection. Use lukewarm water and swish it around your mouth to avoid agitating the broken tooth further. Avoid mouthwash or other harsh substances. They may irritate the injured area.
Take immediate steps to control bleeding caused by the broken tooth. Use a clean gauze pad or a piece of clean cloth. Apply gentle pressure to the affected area. Hold the gauze against the tooth until the bleeding subsides. Doing so will help promote clotting and prevent excessive blood loss. Seek immediate dental care if the bleeding persists after 10 minutes of continuous pressure.
Swelling often occurs after a tooth injury. It can cause discomfort and difficulty in opening your mouth. You can reduce it by applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area. Wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth and place it against your cheek or jaw.
Alternate between 10 to 15 minutes on and off. The cold temperature will help constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation. It will provide temporary relief until you can see a dental professional.
In some cases, a broken tooth may have sharp or jagged edges that can cause further damage to your mouth. You can protect your tongue, cheeks, and gums from these sharp edges by doing a few things. Cover the broken tooth with dental wax. It is a piece of sugarless gum or a temporary dental filling material found at most drugstores. Mold it over the tooth and smooth it out to create a barrier between the sharp edges and the soft tissues of your mouth. These temporary solutions will help prevent further injury until you receive professional dental treatment.
You can take over-the-counter pain medications to manage pain and discomfort from a broken tooth. These may include ibuprofen or acetaminophen, as directed on the packaging. However, it is vital to remember that these medications only provide temporary relief and should not replace professional dental care.
These initial steps can help manage the situation temporarily. However, seeking immediate dental care for a broken tooth is vital. Contact your dentist as soon as you can to explain the situation.
Dental professionals have the necessary expertise and tools to evaluate the extent of the damage, provide appropriate treatment, and help save your tooth if possible.
For more about dental emergencies, visit Woodyard Dental Care at our office in Paducah, Kentucky. Call (270) 408-1321 to book an appointment today.