Cracked or Broken Teeth
Although teeth can endure great pressure, they still break now and again. Small breaks don’t always hurt, but if your tooth’s root becomes cracked, you’ll experience a great deal of pain. Broken teeth are typically caused by hard biting, nighttime grinding, or extreme trauma. If this has happened to you, follow the steps below and get your tooth taken care of as soon as possible.
Here are the steps you can take if you’ve cracked or broken a tooth:
- Call our office or our emergency dentist number (if after hours).
- Use lukewarm water to rinse your mouth gently as well as the tooth fragment if you still have it.
- If there is any bleeding, try to stop it by applying gentle pressure or biting down on some gauze.
- Use a cold compress on your cheek to help reduce or minimize swelling.
- If you feel pain, take a common painkiller until you can come into our office.
The severity of the fracture will determine the course of treatment. Bring the tooth with you if it wasn’t lost or swallowed, because the dentist can sometimes place the fragment back in the tooth. Even if the crack extends to the tooth’s root, your dentist may be able to save it by performing root canal therapy. However, your dentist may have to extract the tooth if the fracture is too severe. If so, your dentist can talk you through tooth replacement options to help you find the best option.
Variations of Broken Teeth
Fractured teeth can include many different types of broken teeth. Emergency dental treatment is suggested for most cases, although some types of breaks are less severe than others. Read on to learn about the different kinds of broken teeth.
Some teeth will develop small cracks in the enamel or the very outer layer of a tooth. These are often referred to as craze lines. Usually, you won’t need to have craze lines treated. They aren’t typically a sign of decay, and they usually don’t cause any pain unless other issues are also present. Having routine maintenance of your teeth will ensure that you are taking care of any craze lines with good habits at home.
If a tooth has a deeper, clearer split line, usually the roots and crown of the tooth are severely damaged. The open split allows the tooth to be more susceptible to infection and decay. Split teeth typically cause great pain, since they leave the root exposed. Our dentists can sometimes put a cap on the teeth to keep them protected, but otherwise, we’ll need to extract split teeth. In most cases, split teeth are a cause for concern and should be looked at by your emergency dentist immediately.
Chipped teeth are likely the most common types of breaks our emergency dentists see. While chipped teeth don’t typically hurt, many times it means a tooth’s enamel is damaged. Chipped teeth are usually an easy fix, needing only some cosmetic bonding.
If your tooth has a deep crack, our emergency dentist should see you right away. If there isn’t any decay inside the tooth yet, we can usually correct the crack with a filling. However, if decay has gotten inside the crack, your dentist will have to walk you through more complex options. We can also keep an eye out for cracks when you come in for routine check-ups.
If a tooth completely breaks, it will usually expose the nerves beneath it. This poses major dental problems, including immediate pain and discomfort. At this point, the emergency dentist will need to clean and remove the nerve of your tooth, called root canal therapy, to keep the pain from becoming severe. Then your dentist will place a crown over the tooth to keep it protected from decay or further trauma.
Commonly asked questions about broken or cracked teeth
What can you do at home with a chipped/cracked tooth?
Are you wondering what to do about broken or cracked teeth? If you have damaged your tooth and you are in pain, take an over-the-counter painkiller such as ibuprofen or Tylenol. Hold a cold compress to the affected area of your face to help with the pain. It is important to make an appointment with your emergency dentist immediately. If you cannot get into your emergency dentist immediately, you may be able to use some temporary dental cement. Kits are available from your local pharmacy.
Are broken teeth a dental emergency?
If a broken tooth exposes the nerve of a tooth, your dentist will need to perform a root canal treatment to take out the nerve before it becomes infected. If your tooth breaks, set up an appointment with your Lincoln dentist as soon as possible. Doing so will prevent the need for more complex dental work.
How much does it cost to fix broken teeth without insurance?
Every broken tooth is unique. Please set up a consult appointment at NorthStar Dental and we would be more than happy to discuss a treatment plan and your possible investment.
What can your dentist do for a cracked tooth?
If a tooth fractures badly, the most common option for your dentist is to crown the tooth. But what happens if decay has already set in?
If the infection in your tooth has reached the nerve, then your dentist will need to perform a root canal treatment. This involves going into the center of the tooth and removing the nerve. Your Lincoln dentist will then fill the nerve space with a neutral medicine. Afterwards, the dentist will cap or crown the tooth as a healthy tooth.
If the roots of the tooth have been damaged, your dentist may not be able to perform root canal therapy. If this is the case, and it is not possible to save the tooth, the appropriate course of action would be to extract the tooth. This relieves the pain and stops the infection from spreading to other teeth.
To learn more about dental emergencies and how to avoid and treat them, contact us today!
Check out the “What can you do for a broken filling” video