The Top 5 Secrets Your Dentist Knows About How to Repair a Broken Tooth

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
The Top 5 Secrets Your Dentist Knows About How to Repair a Broken Tooth

Are you an ice cruncher? A football player? Just a klutz? Whatever the reasons, if you’ve chipped, cracked, or broken a tooth, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. While the answer to “how to repair a broken tooth yourself” is “you can’t, so don’t try,” your dentist can help you regain full use of your teeth, sometimes in as little as a single visit.

Want to know what your dentist knows about how to repair a broken tooth? At Penn Dental Family Practice, we are dedicated to providing you with education about your oral health, as well as excellent dental care. To help you better understand your condition, we’ve created this list of secrets dentists know about your broken tooth.

Five Dental Secrets to Save Your Broken Tooth

Secret #1: The type of break matters, and so does how you treat it.

The term “broken tooth” seems pretty generic, and you might imagine that there’s one prescribed method for how to repair a broken tooth. In truth, broken teeth come in many forms. The method your doctor uses to repair chipped tooth material is different from how she would repair fractured tooth cusps. In fact, there are multiple ways to break your tooth, and some you might not even notice. These include:

  • Craze Lines: Regular cracks in the surface of the tooth’s enamel.
  • Cracked tooth: A deep crack that extends down to the nerves or pulp of the tooth.
  • Chip: A small piece of surface enamel that has flaked off.
  • Broken Cusp: A break in the chewing surface of the tooth.
  • Split tooth: A break in the tooth that extends from the cusp down to the root, leaving the tooth in two pieces.
  • Broken Tooth: A large piece of tooth has broken off, often causing pain and bleeding.

As there is a wide range of ways you can injury your teeth, there is also a wide range of treatments to address these cracks, chips, and breaks. These include bonding, polishing, endodontics, crowns, and veneers.

Secret #2: Messing around with a broken tooth yourself can cause permanent damage.

It may be tempting to try to treat some symptoms of a broken tooth at home, especially if you’re experiencing pain. Dentists, however, will tell you from experience with many patients that only a professional should attempt to treat your tooth.

If you’re experiencing pain or bleeding, here are some tips:

  • Don’t apply any sort of medication, such as aspirin, or oral analgesics like orajel, directly to the tooth.
  • If your tooth is bleeding, bite down lightly on gauze or a tea bag for about ten minutes to stop the bleeding.
  • Avoid eating if possible, until you can get to a dentist. If you must eat, choose soft, gentle foods and avoid chewing with your broken tooth.
  • If you’re experiencing pain, apply ice to the face outside the lips or cheek where the injured tooth is. Do not apply ice directly to the tooth.
  • You can take take an over-the-counter pain medication as directed to help with pain until you can see your dentist.
  • Contact a dentist you trust for treatment as soon as possible.

Secret #3: If you save the piece of your tooth that fell off, your dentist may be able to reattach it.

This is especially true with small chips, but any piece of your tooth that falls off should be saved. Place the piece in a small container, and cover it with saliva or milk. Your doctor may be able to reattach all or part of the material.

Secret #4: It might not hurt, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need treatment.

For many people, it’s the pain that drives them into the dental chair with a tooth injury. However, a cracked or chipped tooth doesn’t always hurt. If the break in your tooth doesn’t reach the pulp, the innermost part of the tooth which contains the tooth’s nerve endings, it likely won’t hurt. Similarly, some cracks only hurt when chewing, especially when releasing a bite.

Whether your tooth hurts or not, if you have suffered an injury, you need to have a dentist check your tooth. Even when you don’t feel pain, a crack weakens the structure of your tooth, and can lead to tooth decay. Only your dentist can determine whether or not treatment is necessary, and how to repair a broken tooth so that it doesn’t cause trouble for you in the future.

Secret #5: Even a broken tooth can last a lifetime.

While not every broken tooth can be repaired, most can, and can continue to serve you well for the rest of your life. With treatments such as bonding, crowns, endodontic treatment, and polishing, even badly broken teeth can often be saved as a whole, or in part, and continue to look and function naturally.

Do you know how to face a dental emergency?

Want to learn more about how to repair a broken tooth, and what your dentist can do to help preserve your smile? Reach out to us for an appointment at (215) 898-PDFP.