What do I do if my child breaks his/her tooth?

Accidents happen… they’re an inevitable part of life. But what if this accident happens to be a broken tooth? OUCH! Teeth are tough, but just like bones, they are susceptible to damage. So, what happens if you or your child breaks a tooth, why does it hurt, and what can I do about it?
Breaking a tooth can happen a number of ways: physical activity without proper protection, impact directly on the tooth, untreated cavities, etc. Understanding the structure of a tooth is important to know exactly what happens and what causes the pain. The anatomy of a tooth is made up of bone, ligaments, a root, the pulp, dentin, enamel, and the crown supported by the gums. Starting from the outside of the tooth, you’ll find the enamel, the outer covering, followed by an inner layer called dentin. These layers protect the area of the tooth referred to as the pulp. The pulp encompasses the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels and serves as the most vulnerable part of the tooth. If the pulp and the nerve of the tooth is exposed and/or damaged, it can cause immense pain and discomfort.
If your tooth breaks, cracks, or chips, it’s important that you see your dentist right away. This way, your dentist can determine the cause of the fracture and treat it appropriately and quickly. Prior to seeing your dentist, it’s important to follow these self-care tips:

  • Save any leftover teeth fragments. Rinse and store them in milk or saline for your dentist.
  • Rinse out your mouth. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water to cleanse the area.
  • Apply ice. Apply ice to the area around the mouth, cheeks, or lips over the wound to reduce pain and swelling
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Oral pain relievers can be found at any drug store.
  • Apply pressure. Use gauze or a napkin to apply to any bleeding areas. Keep pressure on wound until the bleeding subsides.
  • Cover the broken tooth. Treatments such as temporary dental cement can be found at any drugstore. Covering the tooth can minimize chances of infection or further damage.

Once at Wells Family Dentistry, our dentists will determine what type of fracture you’ve incurred and apply a treatment to the tooth. Depending on the fracture, our dentist may recommend a few options of treatment: Dental Bonding where a composite binds to the tooth and molded for a natural look; Veneers, a porcelain covering that will bond to the top of the tooth; Crown, a cap that covers the tooth; Root Canal, if the pulp of the tooth has become infected; or Dental Implants, should your tooth be irreparable and must be extracted, a dental implant will replace your natural tooth.
Regardless of how the tooth has been broken, treatments are available. If you or your child has broken, chipped, or cracked a tooth, it’s important to take these precautionary measures and contact our dental office right away!
If you are seeking a Raleigh Emergency Dentist, reach out to us today.

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