Dealing with a broken tooth is a common occurrence. According to some studies, it’s the third leading cause of tooth loss in industrialized nations and dentists will encounter patients with chipped teeth at least daily in their practice. Additionally, endodontists (dentists who specialize in procedures to save teeth), have reported that more patients are referred to them because of cracked teeth than decayed teeth. Let’s discuss some of the most common questions surrounding this ailment. Below we will discuss some frequently asked questions pertaining to broken teeth.

  1. “Is breaking an adult tooth really a big deal?”

Yes, breaking an adult tooth is a very big deal! A broken tooth is a dental emergency that should be examined as soon as possible. Even the smallest break can cause issues with eating, drinking, and sometimes even speaking. Additionally, a break can allow food and bacteria to get stuck in the area which can lead to infection. Without treatment, a broken tooth can become unable to be saved. Contact your dentist immediately if you notice a broken tooth.

  1. “How can someone break a tooth?”

The outermost layer of your tooth, known as enamel, is very strong. But there are a number of ways you can break your tooth. Some breaks occur due to a sudden injury like while playing a sport or during a fall. Other times, they can break when they are used for things the shouldn’t be, like opening a container or chewing on ice.

Teeth that have been weakened over time by decay are more likely to break during normal eating activities. Weakened teeth can break while eating things such as hard candy, chips, apples or granola bars.

  1. “What happens if I hit my tooth, but nothing breaks off?”

It’s definitely possible to hit your teeth on something without anything breaking off but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You can still cause damage to your tooth without being able to see it to the naked eye. This time of damage is often referred to a fracture in your tooth.

Some cracks may be shallow, but others can extend through the whole tooth. Such cracks weaken the tooth making it more likely to break or get crushed during normal activities. It is important that you visit your dentist for them to evaluate the tooth for any damages.

  1. “What are some symptoms or signs that I have fractured or broken a tooth?”

The most obvious sign that you have fractured or broken tooth is a physical change. It is shock to look in the mirror and find a partial smile looking back! Several other signs and symptoms that aren’t quite as obvious include:

  • Facial swelling, especially if it includes the cheek, gums, or jawline
  • Sharp pain when biting down or other pressure is applied to your teeth
  • Blood or other discharge from around the base of a tooth, near the gum line
  • Pain when drinking hot or cold beverages
  • Sharp pain that comes and goes—it usually dissipates quickly

Breaking a tooth can be a frightening experience because it typically happens when you least expect it. It is important that you remain calm and contact your dentist. If you are dealing with a dental emergency and are in need of a dentist, contact us immediately or schedule your appointment to meet with any of our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.