Broken Tooth: What Can Be Done?
So you’ve just got a broken tooth. Maybe you had a little too much toffee, or you bit into a peach pit by accident, or maybe you took a nasty fall and cracked one of your teeth. It’s okay, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t panic, there are some simple things you can do to fix it, and to live with it until you can get it fixed.
Tooth Broken in Half? What To Do?
If your tooth has been seriously damaged or broken in half, the first thing you need to do is speak with your dentist. While there may be a temptation to try to save money, your dental health is not an area you want to ignore, especially with a serious dental injury like a tooth broken in half. Ignoring the problem, even if you can bear the pain, is not a good idea. The broken tooth could potentially get so badly infected that even a root canal wouldn’t be able to salvage it, and your only option then would be to have the tooth removed. That’s certainly not something you want, so make an urgent appointment with your dentist.
What To Do for Broken Tooth Pain
While you’re waiting for your dental appointment, you may be experiencing considerable pain. While nothing short of fixing the problem will make the pain go away, luckily there are some tips and tricks you can use to make the discomfort much more bearable.
For starters, common household pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can be used to dull the pain. They shouldn’t interfere with the painkillers or anesthetic a dentist may administer later, but remember to always tell your dentist if you have taken pain medication. Follow the instructions which came with your ibuprofen carefully, and always consult your doctor before administering it to children, teenagers, the elderly, pregnant women, or even those people with pre-existing medical conditions. On no account should you give pain medication to a toddler or young child; get them to a medical practitioner instead.
A salt water gargle can help prevent infection of your broken tooth. Just mix a pinch of salt in a glass of water, and gargle with it over the bathroom sink for 2 to 3 minutes.
If you have experienced bleeding at the site of your broken tooth, apply gauze to the area until it stops bleeding. Apply a small amount of pressure, if necessary, but be careful not to press too hard and damage the tooth further.
If your broken tooth has sharp edges, these may lead to additional discomfort and pain, and may even cause small cuts to the tongue, cheek, or gums. To avoid this, you can use chewing gum, or better still, paraffin wax, to cover the sharp edges. By doing this you will keep the rest of your mouth safe, and keep the tooth itself protected from any further damage.
Applying an ice pack, or anything cold, like the outside of a tub of ice cream or a bag of frozen French fries, to the cheek closest to the broken tooth can also help to numb the pain. But don’t try sucking an ice cube, because exposed tooth nerves can be very sensitive to cold.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Whether your broken tooth will need a root canal depends on several factors, the most important of which is the extent of the damage. Endodontic therapy, commonly known as a root canal, is a dental procedure where a broken, damaged, or infected tooth is cleaned, filed, shaped, and restored with a filling and a crown. While the name may instill a sense of anxiety in those who are uncomfortable with trips to the dentist, it’s really not as serious a procedure as some people make out. If your broken molar is very badly damaged, or broken in half, chances are you will need endodontic therapy to repair it. But talk to your dentist, because there are alternatives, such as bridgework, which can be less intrusive.
Broken Tooth: What Can I Eat?
You should be very careful when eating nuts, hard candies, apples and other hard fruit or raw vegetables such as carrots. You should also avoid anything chewy or sticky, as it risks damaging the tooth further or getting stuck in the crack as well as break.
Anything hot, like coffee, or cold, like ice cream, should be avoided, because exposed nerves can be sensitive to extremes of temperature.
Make sure to use a toothbrush with very soft bristles when brushing your teeth following a broken tooth.
Good foods to have while you’re stuck with a broken tooth are:
- Soups (provided they are not piping hot, and forgo the crusty roll)
- Stews – the slow cooker is your friend, here, because it makes everything so tender and easy to eat.
- Pasta dishes, warm and cold
With all of the above, make sure to eat only very small pieces no more than 2-3 cm2. By sticking to liquids like soups, or soft, easy foods like stews and pasta dishes, you should be okay. But it can vary from person to person, so if you find that pasta is irritating your tooth, then don’t eat any more. The last thing you want to do is do any more damage before you make it to the dentist!
So, What Should I Do?
By getting in touch with your dentist urgently, and finding out what your treatment options are, you’ll be well-placed to make a full recovery and be back to life as normal in no time. While you wait for your appointment, you can take a common household painkiller, gargle with some salt water, cover the broken edges with wax or gum, and if necessary, apply ice or something cold to your cheek. Until you see your dentist, you should avoid any food or beverage that’s very hot, very cold, very hard, very sticky, or very sweet. Stick to soups, stews, and pastas, and drink room temperature beverages, rather than straight from the fridge. Broken tooth pain is horribly unpleasant, and we wish you a speedy recovery!
Broken Tooth: What Can Be Done?
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