Our teeth are unbelievably strong. In fact, the exterior tooth enamel is almost, if not harder, than steel. Unfortunately, teeth can still chip, crack, or break despite their strength. Many things can cause this type of dental emergency to occur, including trauma due to injury, biting down on something hard, and cavities weakening the teeth.   

A chipped tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies; in most cases, they are not serious. Often, it doesn’t even hurt when your tooth chips or breaks. You may only realise it’s happened when you feel a jagged or sharp edge with your tongue. However, it can be painful if a larger piece of tooth breaks off and the nerve inside is damaged. Once a break goes beyond the tooth enamel, there is a risk of infection and potential tooth loss. 

 

What to do with a chipped tooth – immediately and after

First, you should collect all the pieces of your broken tooth when you encounter this situation and contact an emergency dentist to make an appointment as soon as possible. An evaluation from a dentist is essential to getting the proper treatment and restoring your tooth after a chip or break. 

 

 

If it’s not possible to see a dentist straight away, there are a few things you can do at home for a chipped tooth to manage any pain and lower the risk of complications. 

  • Use a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water to rinse your mouth to ease discomfort and reduce the risk of infection.
  • If your mouth is bleeding, use clean gauze to apply pressure for about ten minutes until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding persists, you can also use a moistened tea bag if you’ve run out of gauze. 
  • Cover any sharp or jagged edges with dental wax or sugar-free gum to prevent injury to your tongue or cheeks. 
  • There may be swelling with a chipped tooth. In this case, an ice pack placed on the face over the area will help ease pain and reduce the swelling. 
  • Use medication such as Paracetamol or Aspirin. If your face is swollen, the anti-inflammatory properties of Ibuprofen may help. 
  • Stick to soft drinks and liquids.
  • A temporary fix for a chipped tooth is to purchase dental cement from your local store and cover the tooth to protect it until you can see the dentist. 

 

What to do with a chipped tooth – distinguishing dental emergencies 

A dental emergency necessitates prompt action from a dental professional. Most dentists keep time aside in their day for people needing urgent treatment and usually offer a same-day appointment. Depending on the severity of dental emergencies, such as persistent bleeding from the mouth or a suspected broken jaw, it may be advisable to head straight to the emergency department of a local hospital. This way, a person can receive medical attention before visiting their dentist for a dental procedure. 

 

Deciding whether you have a dental emergency

Often patients are unsure about dental emergencies and worry about bothering their dentist unnecessarily. At Southport Park Family Dental, we’re happy for patients to contact us over the phone to tell us what has happened and explain their symptoms. This way, we can determine whether they need a same-day appointment or whether they can wait until an appointment becomes available in a day or so. 

Broken teeth are generally regarded as dental emergencies and are relatively prevalent. Many people break their teeth playing sports, eating hard food, or falling. While a broken tooth is serious, some fractures are not considered an emergency.

Small chips or hairline cracks on teeth are fractures that don’t require an urgent appointment. This is because minor tooth damage does not pose an immediate threat to a person’s health and wellbeing. Consequently, scheduling a standard appointment should be enough 

Emergency dental care should be sought in the case of significant tooth breakage. A severe fraction is when a large portion of the tooth has gone. In these circumstances, a person will likely experience intense pain and possibly some bleeding. Seeking urgent dental assistance is crucial. 

Going to the right place for dental emergencies 

Patients can receive dental care even if they don’t have a regular dentist. Most dentists leave slots in their operating hours for emergency dental care patients. As a result, people can call their nearest dental clinic to see if they can secure a same-day appointment. 

Do you have a chipped tooth?

Even if you don’t, knowing what to do with a chipped or broken tooth is invaluable information. Accidents can happen anytime, so ensure your dentist’s number is stored on your mobile. 

Southport Park Family dental offers a comprehensive range of dental treatments for all the family, so if you don’t have a regular dentist or are looking to switch, why not contact us on (07) 5655 7688 today

References

Healthline: What is the hardest substance in the body
https://www.healthline.com/health/hardest-substance-in-the-human-body#enamel-strength

Nature.com – The old tea-bag trick
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41415-021-3687-3

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