It’s incredible how strong our teeth are. In fact, tooth enamel, which makes up the exterior of your teeth, is the hardest substance in the human body. Unfortunately, despite how tough they are, teeth can still become chipped, fractured or broken. Many things can cause this kind of dental emergency to arise, including biting on something hard, trauma due to an injury and cavities weakening the tooth.
A chipped tooth is one of the most common emergency dental situations we see, and most are not serious. When the tooth breaks or chips, sometimes it doesn’t even hurt. You may only find it by feeling the sharp, jagged edge with your tongue. If a larger piece of your tooth breaks off, it can hurt, and the nerve inside may become damaged. When the break goes past your tooth’s enamel, infection or tooth loss become a risk.
You should gather the pieces of your broken or chipped tooth and make a dental appointment as soon as possible if you experience this issue. Getting evaluated by a dentist is essential to getting proper treatment and restoring the tooth after the chip or break.
What to Do Until You Get to the Dentist’s Office
Whether the pain from your broken or cracked tooth is constant or it comes and goes, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist. We can evaluate the damaged tooth and figure out if it was caused by a cavity and if your tooth’s nerve is in any danger. Damaged nerves may require more extensive treatment.
If you’re unable to see your dentist immediately, there are a few things you can do at home to manage tooth pain and reduce the risk of complications:
- Rinse out your mouth with warm or salted water to help ease pain and reduce the risk of infection.
- If there’s bleeding, apply pressure with clean gauze for about 10 minutes or until the bleed stops. You can also use a tea bag instead of gauze if the bleeding persists.
- To help relieve swelling and reduce pain, place an ice pack on your face over the area where the chipped tooth is.
- Cover sharp areas with sugarless gum or dental wax to protect your cheeks and tongue.
- Purchase temporary dental cement from a drugstore, and apply it over the chipped tooth to protect it until you see your dentist.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers to manage tooth pain as needed.
- Limit your diet to liquids and soft foods.
Common Treatments for a Chipped Tooth
The type of treatment you receive depends on how serious the chip or break to your tooth is. Not all chips require treatment. However, it’s important to visit your dentist to find out if one of the more common treatments for a chipped tooth is needed. It could include repairing the damage with filling material, polishing and smoothing out the chipped area, crowns for more extensive damage or another form of treatment.
When Dental Emergencies Arise, Contact Dental Choice
If you chip your tooth, contact a Dental Choice office in Calgary or Edmonton as soon as possible. Even if you believe our offices are closed, go ahead and make the call. We provide an emergency number, but you can also follow the instruction on our answering machine. Our dentists strive to leave openings for emergency situations like chipped teeth. Some of our offices are open on weekends and many have evening hours and can provide urgent dental care.
If these options don’t work and your chipped tooth is causing extreme discomfort, you may want to consider visiting a local emergency room.