What to do if You Have a Chipped or Cracked Tooth!
Have you found yourself with a piece of your tooth in your hand, wondering what to do? Well, look no further. Continue reading to find out what to do in case you have chipped or cracked your tooth, and learn how your dentist can help.
Hear A Strange Crunch?
First thing’s first! If you notice that there’s a piece of your tooth missing, find that piece if you can and wrap it in moist gauze. The gauze should be moist to prevent the tooth from drying out and crumbling. Then immediately after, rinse your mouth out with warm water. This is to prevent bacteria from irritating the area – especially if the chip was a result of eating.
Sometimes people only have mild discomfort as a result of a chipped or cracked tooth. In this case, relieving the pain at home is definitely an option. Placing ice, or a frozen bag of peas, in the area will relieve the feeling. Soothing herbal remedies may also help. Place a warm herbal tea bag, ideally peppermint, on the gum.
If you are in significant pain, if the nerve is exposed, and/or if the area is bleeding, you can consider this an emergency. You should contact your dentist right away! If the emergency occurs outside of your dentist’s office hours, find an emergency dentist or even go to the ER.
Can I Fix the Chipped or Cracked Tooth Myself?
Dentists don’t advise their patients to fix their teeth themselves. If you can’t visit your dentist right away, completing the steps listed above is the best course of action in the meantime.
If the break creates a sharp, jagged edge, you can get dental wax to place over the tooth. It is common to find this at most drug stores. If you or a family member have braces, it is likely you can find some in your house.
What Will my Dentist do to Fix the Chipped or Cracked Tooth?
If you’ve ever had a cavity filled before, this procedure may seem a little familiar. If one of your molars was chipped or cracked, it is likely that your dentist will just fill the tooth in. The composite they will use is likely the same as they would use on a cavity. If the tooth in question is at the front of your mouth, and visible when you smile, your dentist will likely use a tooth-coloured resin. This procedure is called “bonding”. This bonding process usually takes between 30 mins to an hour, depending on the circumstance of the procedure.
The resin used to repair teeth is not as strong as the actual tooth. It is possible for the resin to crack or separate from the tooth. If this happens, consult your dentist. If the damage leaves the tooth sharp, that dental wax will come in handy once again.
There are alternative solutions to repairing your teeth:
- Dental cap or crown
- Root canal therapy
These options are available depending on the severity of the chip or crack in the tooth. Often caps, crowns, and root canal therapy are used to approach a tooth that has been significantly damaged.
Dental Caps and Crowns
If there is significant damage and/or decay to the tooth, your dentist may repair the tooth using a cap or crown. Caps and crowns are often made of porcelain, metal, resin, or ceramic. This procedure includes shaving down the damaged tooth and placing the medium overtop. Often crowns require two appointments, as the dentist will take an x-ray of the tooth to ensure that the tooth’s roots are strong enough to support the tooth and the crown.
Veneers, similar to crowns and caps, are made of porcelain or resin and will be placed over the top of the existing tooth. Often veneers are used for the front teeth, not the molar. This procedure takes a considerable amount of time, as the veneer has to be made to fit your teeth. The veneer usually takes up to two weeks to be built. Your dentist will shave down the chipped tooth, apply a bonding “cement”, and place the veneer overtop. The veneer will be sealed to the tooth using the same UV light as the bonding procedure.
Root Canal Therapy
If the break in the tooth was large enough to expose the “pulp” or the roots of the tooth, your dentist may suggest undergoing root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is a procedure that involves removing the dead pulp from the tooth resealing it. The alternative procedure that would need to be done if the pulp dies, is extracting the tooth altogether.
Read Our Root Canal Therapy Blog!
Where Can I These Procedures Done?
Stroud Dental offers general dentistry, sealants, TMJ treatments, root canal therapy, and more for our patients in the Barrie, Simcoe County and surrounding area. Our treatment will save your teeth and take away your pain. Contact us today to learn more or to book your appointment.