First aid for broken teeth

If you’ve suffered from a chip or crack in your teeth, you’re not alone. Chipping or cracking a tooth can happen more easily than you think.

From exposure of tooth enamel to extreme temperatures, such as eating hot food and then drinking ice water, to nervous habits such as biting on a pen or pencil, a number of day-to-day activities can lead to a cracked or chipped tooth.

The AP Smilecare guide to chipped teeth

Chipped teeth come in a range of severity – from minor cracks right through to decay-induced breakages. The treatment you receive from your dentist, and the procedure to follow, all depend on the severity and cause of your breakage.

Minor cracks are extremely common and just appear on the surface of your teeth – the enamel. This means they rarely need treatment and are barely visible, especially from a distance.

If these surface cracks are getting you down, you could ask your dentist to polish any rough spots to give your teeth a smoother finish.

Likewise, minor chips don’t always need treatment. Often caused by eating something hard and sharp, you dentist may just file the area down.

If the chip is more noticeable, your dentist may suggest repairing the tooth with filling material.

Cracked teeth are more serious as the fracture involves the whole tooth, right the way down to the nerve.

Cracks can sometimes be repaired with filling material, but more often than not the tooth will need a crown to prevent the damage from getting worse.

More serious breaks, which cause tooth sensitivity and bleeding, will need root canal treatment to allow the tooth to function normally.

A decay-induced break is a rarity if you’d been practising good oral hygiene and have visited your dentist regularly.

If you do suffer from a decay-induced break, your dentist will evaluate the cavity and recommend the best way forward – in some cases the tooth will need to be completely removed.

How to deal with a chipped tooth

If you do suffer from a tooth chip or breakage it’s important to book an appointment to see your dentist immediately.

In the meantime there are a number of steps you can follow to minimise the damage to your teeth:

After the incident rinse your mouth well with warm water

If your tooth is bleeding, apply pressure with a piece of gauze for about 10 minutes, or until the bleeding stops

Apply a cold pack to the cheek or lips around the damaged area – this will reduce swelling and provide pain relief. You can also take ibuprofen or paracetamol to help with any pain.

By avoiding sugary, starchy and acidic foods, as well as brushing your teeth twice daily, you’ll enhance the strength of your teeth and limit the chances of damage to them. For more tips on oral hygiene, browse our blog or speak to your AP Smilecare dentist.

Have you chipped a tooth before? If so, what treatment did you receive to rectify the problem? Leave your comments below or tweet us @APSmilecare