Teeth are the hardest substance in the human body. It has the highest mineral percentage of about 96 percent, comprising mostly of the mineral hydroxyapatite. Yet, as hard, as they are, your teeth can crack or break. If you ever have to deal with a cracked or broken tooth, here are some suggestions on what you can do to handle the situation:
Caring for a Broken or Cracked Tooth at Home
Remember that you should always seek to visit Dr. Stout as soon as possible if you have a broken or cracked tooth, especially if it is accompanied by any sort of pain or discomfort.
If you are unable to come into our Charlotte dentist office immediately you should take the following measures to help you deal with the problem:
- Rinse your mouth with warm, saltwater.
- Take precautions to prevent your mouth from getting cut
- If there is bleeding, apply pressure on the affected area(s) until the bleeding subsides.
- If you feel pain from the break or chip, take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, to mitigate discomfort.
- Apply an ice pack to the lips or cheek above the chipped or broken tooth to prevent or control swelling.
In addition to those, you should take care to consume soft foods and be careful not to bite down on the broken tooth. There is nothing you can do to treat a cracked or fractured tooth at home. You must seek professional help. The nature of the problem takes it beyond the scope of home remedies. The affected tooth might appear okay, but when pain and discomfort sets in when eating or talking etc. especially something that is hot or cold.
Seeking Professional Care
When you experience a cracked or broken tooth, a dentist is your best resort for treatment. The approach that would be adopted for treatment will be determined after your dentist has checked the severity of the problem. There can be a variety of solutions to correct the issue, some are listed below:
Minor chips or breaks
These aren’t dental emergencies and may not require treatment in some instances. They can be corrected with dental bonding, filling material, or polishing.
Minor Cracks or Fractures
There is rarely any need for minor cracks that affect only the enamel, although the dentist may decide to polish any irregular areas and smooth them out.
Restoration of the shape of the tooth is a common practice when a break affects only the cusp, or chewing surface, of a tooth. A crown or an inlay is employed to correct the problem in some cases.
When a broken tooth is so serious that it exposes the internal nerve, the usual treatment for this is a root canal where they take out the nerve. When done it helps in dealing with sensitivity and pain that usually results from severe breaks.
Following the root canal, your dentist may fix a crown that will allow you to chew properly. For breaks caused by extensive decay, you may need to remove the tooth entirely.
Dentists often use filling material to correct severe cracks. They fill the cracks with the substance to cover up the exposed internal nerves. Your dentist may even install a crown to keep a crack from getting worse.
Severe cracks involving damage to the pulp sometimes require root canal treatment as well so be aware of that.
Split tooth or root
A split tooth is a type of fracture involving vertical splitting of a tooth into two
unconnected parts. Treatment this includes a root canal, removal of an overly-damaged root, and fixing of an artificial crown.
Your tooth may need to be removed completely if the root is considered to be beyond redemption. This is also the solution to the majority of split root or vertical break cases. What happens here is the cracks begin in the root and progress from there to the top or crown of the tooth.
Do not avoid going to a dentist if you have a broken or cracked tooth, especially if you are suffering because of it. Left untreated, it will result in serious medical problems as it can become infected and that infection can spread to other parts of your body.