While chewing something soft or crunching an ice cube or a piece of hard candy, did you notice something hard and crunchy that doesn’t dissolve? You soon get a queasy feeling realising what it is- a chipped or broken piece of your tooth. 

The most vital part is not the discovery, but what should you do next? Many individuals might get baffled or panic in such situations! However, it is recommended that you calm down and examine the damage by determining whether it’s a chipped piece or your whole tooth.

This will help you know faster if you require to contact emergency dental services or not. 

The enamel covering and protecting the delicate inner portion of your teeth is the hardest, most mineralised tissue in your body. However, even the hardest, toughest substance in your body has limits. 

There are multiple reasons that lead to the fracture or complete dislodgement of your tooth. The causative factor determines how our dentist proceeds with the treatment process. The reasons for a broken/ cracked/ fractured tooth includes the following:

  • Falling
  • Accidental trauma to the face or mouth
  • Biting down or crushing a hard item with your teeth
  • Decay, plaque build-up or gum disease that weakens the tooth
  • Old fillings from a root canal treatment that have become infected or do not support the tooth’s structure

So when do you require emergency dental treatment for your broken tooth? 

Let’s find out!

When Should You Opt For Emergency Dental Services For A Broken Tooth? 

A broken or chipped tooth generally requires an immediate visit to the dental office. In fact, tooth breakages account for the most common type of dental emergencies. 

Many people experience broken teeth during sports activity while eating or taking a fall. Although a broken tooth represents a serious dental concern, there are certain types of fractures that do not come under the emergency classification.

Minor chipping of the enamel or tooth fractures do not require immediate attention. The reason is, such conditions do not cause any immediate worsening or threat to your general health and wellbeing. Therefore, getting a regular dental appointment is sufficient.

But if you have a major tooth fracture, complete dislodgement or chipped tooth with sharp edges causing trauma to the mouth, emergency dental services are essential. A severe tooth fracture can be defined as a condition when a sizable/considerable part of the tooth is broken or missing. 

Such broken tooth conditions usually lead to intense pain and, sometimes, bleeding. In these cases, seeking timely dental intervention is critical.

How To Care For A Broken Chipped Or Fractured Tooth?

If you are experiencing a major fracture or broken tooth, connect with the emergency services for immediate expert attention. Otherwise, it can worsen the damage, lead to infections and make complete tooth restoration impossible. 

While you wait for emergency dental services to arrive, you can follow certain safety measures to prevent pain and worsening of the injury: 

  • If you’re experiencing an excruciating toothache, take acetaminophen or other OTC analgesics. Use salt water to rinse your mouth.  
  • If the chipped or broken tooth has a sharp edge that can injure your lips or cheek, use sugarless chewing gum to cover it. 
  • Refrain from biting down on your broken tooth.
  • Avoid eating crunchy or hard food. If you need to eat, it is recommended that you intake soft or liquid-based food items that don’t require chewing. 

Also Read: SEDATION “SLEEP DENTISTRY”: HOW DOES IT WORK AND IS IT SAFE?

What Are The Interventions Available For Treating A Fractured Or Broken Tooth?

Treatment for a fractured or broken tooth will depend on the severity of the injury or damage. If only a minute piece of enamel has chipped off, the repair and restoration can be done usually in one office visit. 

A severely damaged or fractured tooth may require a more intricate and costly intervention. Here are some ways your dentist may treat your broken or chipped tooth:

  • Dental filling or bonding
  • Placing dental cap or crown
  • Dental veneers
  • Root canal treatment
  • Surgical extraction

When Do You Require Surgical Extraction?

A surgical extraction is recommended when your tooth has fractured or broken off below the gum level. Surgical tooth extraction involves surgical incisions into your gum to better access the concealed parts of your tooth. 

  • Before proceeding with the surgical intervention, your dentist might take X-rays to understand the location of the fracture and perform the procedure with utmost precision. 
  • Just like any other surgical procedure, your dental surgeon will administer the required level of anesthesia to induce numbness in that area. You might also require certain analgesics to reduce mild to moderate discomfort after the surgery. 
  • In most cases, the surgical incisions are closed using stitches (securing your gum around the socket). This enhances the healing process and prevents infection.
  • You’ll require follow-up appointments to observe the recovery process. 
  • Refrain from having hot or spicy foods, alcohol or smoking cigarettes. Avoid brushing near your surgical site as it might damage the stitches. Eat soft but nutritious foods for the next week to ten days, including soups, mashed veggies and soft fruits.

Correct timing for contacting the emergency dental services can be a determining factor to save your tooth or worsening the condition. Don’t push back your dental appointments. Get help, maintain excellent oral hygiene.