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What to Do When You’ve Chipped or Broken a Tooth

From sports injuries to chewing on ice, there are many things that can chip a tooth. And although unhealthy teeth are more vulnerable to breaking, even strong, healthy teeth can still get chipped. Knowing what to do after you’ve chipped a tooth can help you avoid a lot of pain and some severe dental complications. 

The team at Lifetime Family Dental can fix broken teeth and restore your beautiful smile in no time. In the meantime, here’s what to do to protect your damaged tooth. 

What Should You Do After You’ve Chipped or Broken a Tooth?

1: Rinse Your Mouth

The first thing you should do after a piece of your tooth has broken off is to rinse your mouth with warm water. This will help rid your mouth of dirt, debris, and food particles, as well as bacteria that may have been introduced when you chipped your tooth.  

2: Address Any Bleeding

Depending on the type of injury, you may experience some bleeding along with breaking a tooth. Gently apply pressure with a clean towel or medical gauze right away to stop the bleeding. Do not rub or scrub the area, as this can cause further irritation. 

If the bleeding does not stop after 20 minutes of applying pressure, then your injuries could be more severe than you think—you should visit the nearest emergency room immediately. Dizziness is another sign that you need immediate medical attention, especially if you experienced any head trauma when you were injured. 

3: Apply a Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help relieve tooth pain as well as any swelling caused by the injury. Wrap the cold compress in a clean cloth before applying it to your face. Never apply ice or an ice pack directly to your skin—it could cause frostbite or an ice burn

4: Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also help reduce pain and inflammation. If you take any prescription medications, make sure to speak with your doctor before taking OTC medications, as there could potentially be some negative drug interactions.  

5: Avoid Eating, or Eat Only Soft Foods

If you’re able to see your dentist right away, it’s better to hold off on eating or drinking anything besides water until your tooth is treated. Otherwise, you should eat only soft foods after chipping a tooth, to prevent further pain or breakage. Even if you don’t feel any tooth pain, the sharp edges of your broken tooth could harm your tongue when eating, so it’s still important to see your dentist right away. 

6: Visit the Dentist

After immediately caring for your tooth, the next important step is to call your dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Letting a chipped tooth go untreated could cause more damage to your mouth, and there could be exposed dentin or cracks in the tooth you’re unaware of that could lead to infections in the future. 

What Are the Treatment Options for a Chipped Tooth?

Depending on the severity of damage, your dentist may suggest one of the following restorative treatment options:

  • Filling—a composite resin can be used to fill small chips in teeth, similar to filling a cavity. 
  • Crown—a tooth-shaped cap or cover permanently placed over a damaged or weakened tooth.
  • Veneer—a tooth-colored panel that covers the front of a broken tooth.
  • Implant or Bridge—if any permanent teeth fall out completely due to the injury, they will need to be replaced with a dental implant or bridge. 

Chipped Tooth Treatment in Gilbert, Arizona

The only way to fix a chipped or broken tooth is with professional dental care. If you’ve broken a tooth, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer extensive emergy dental care to residents in and around Gilbert. The compassionate team at Lifetime Family Dental will examine your teeth and discuss which treatment options are right for you. Call us at 480-558-4331 today to schedule an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/12/2022). Image by Cezary from Pixabay