Chipping or breaking a tooth is a startling, scary experience. Whether you bite down on a piece of hard candy or experience an impact, having a piece of your tooth break off is troubling. Fortunately, it’s generally an easily fixable situation, so don’t panic. Dr. Hamby, a leading Fuquay Varina dentist, is sharing four steps to take when you chip a tooth.
5 Steps to Take When You Chip a Tooth
First, look at the area and determine how serious the chip or break is. A small chip may be irritating but it’s generally not an emergency. An exposed nerve or break in which much of the tooth is gone can be painful and may require a visit to an emergency dentist as soon as possible.
Contact Your Dentist
Whether it’s a small chip or a serious break, you need to get it fixed as bacteria can enter the tooth even through small cracks or chips and leave you vulnerable to infection or further decay. Explain to your dentist what happened and if it’s minor, they will fit you in soon, but if it’s severe, they will get you an emergency appointment that is much more immediate.
Rinse Your Mouth
Rinse your mouth with warm salt water as this often eases any pain and reduces the risk of infection that can occur. Continue to rinse the area a few times a day until you can see your dentist.
Some bleeding will occur when your tooth has chipped. Use sterile gauze to apply pressure to the area until the bleeding stops.
Take a Pain Reliever
If there is pain or inflammation around the tooth, even after the saltwater rinse, an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Advil will ease the discomfort.
Cover the Tooth
Prevent further damage and any cuts to the interior of your mouth by covering the tooth with dental cement, dental wax, or even sugarless gum.
How a Dentist Will Repair a Chipped Tooth
Depending on the nature of the chip or break, your dentist will devise a treatment plan.
- Large Chips or Breaks. If the break or chip is large enough to have exposed the nerve, your dentist will need to perform a root canal to remove the nerve and then place a crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage.
- Medium Chips or Breaks. If there’s no damage to the nerve or the nerve has not been exposed, your dentist can place a veneer, a thin resin shell, over the tooth to make the chip completely unnoticeable.
- Small Chips or Breaks. For smaller chips in teeth, your dentist can easily buff, polish and smooth the chip away, ensuring use of the tooth without larger dental work being done.
Preventing Chipped or Broken Teeth in the Future
While there are times when chipping or breaking a tooth is unavoidable, such as a fall, it’s important to do what you can to prevent this from occurring.
- Keep your tooth enamel strong by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and keeping up with regular dental checkups.
- Avoid crunching hard things like ice or hard candy.
- Wear a helmet or mouth guard during sporting activities where an impact to the mouth is possible.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Fuquay Varina Dental Center Today
If you or one of your children have broken or chipped a tooth, contact Hamby Family Dental Center today for to ensure that your mouths are healthy! Call us at (919) 552-2431 or use the form below to schedule your appointment online.