December can be a month with many holiday parties and celebrations with an abundance of baked goods and sweets that can occasionally have unexpected or unanticipated dental consequences. Peanut brittle, toffee, caramels, gumdrops or candied fruits are just a few culprits that may cause a broken tooth or even pull off a previously done restoration. There are some temporary solutions that can be attempted in order to help minimize the interruption of holiday festivities.
If you find that you have a broken tooth after eating a tasty treat, try to find the “broken” portion, if you have not already swallowed it. Sometimes, the broken tooth is really an inlay, onlay or crown that may have been dislodged. Often the dislodged dental restoration can be re-bonded as a broken tooth repair by your dentist. We recommend that you save it and take it to your dentist to be evaluated for re-seating. An inlay or onlay is probably too small and may lack enough retention to try to replace it safely without professional attention.
Teeth are very strong but, unfortunately they will break sometimes. This can happen several ways:
- Biting down on something hard
- Being hit in the face or mouth
- Having cavities that weaken the tooth
- Having large, old amalgam fillings that don’t support the remaining enamel of the tooth
When you have a broken tooth it may not always hurt, but it can cause discomfort with your tongue. Broken tooth pain is not usually caused by minor tooth fractures, but if a large piece of the tooth breaks off, it can hurt. The nerve inside the tooth may be damaged. Extreme discomfort also can happen when nerve endings in are exposed to air, or to hot or cold foods or drinks.
When your actual tooth breaks there is no at-home fix. There are some things you can do to ease discomfort until you can make it into the dentist for a broken tooth repair:
- Rinse your mouth well with warm water.
- Apply pressure with a piece of gauze on any bleeding areas for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. If this doesn’t work, use a tea bag with pressure on the area to stop the bleeding.
- Apply a cold pack to the cheek or lips over the broken tooth. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- If you can’t get to your dentist right away, cover the part of the tooth that is in your mouth with temporary dental cement. You can find this at a drugstore.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
You may be able to place a crown or veneer as a temporary broken tooth repair on your own. Sometimes the crown or veneer can be carefully put in place on the tooth and held temporarily with Vaseline, Polident, toothpaste, or a similar material. Some drug stores also carry a temporary cement specifically made for dental restorations. If the tooth has not had a root canal these quick fixes can cause broken tooth pain or sensitivity. A temporarily placed crown can help to maintain a normal smile and/or minimize sensitivity to air or temperature extremes.
A missing inlay, onlay or filling may cause sensitivity because there is little or no insulation to protect the nerve from air or temperature extremes. A piece of cotton from a cotton ball (perhaps coated with Vaseline to help hold it in place), orthodontic wax, or a piece of sugarless gum (chewed, not straight from the wrapper) may seal the hole in a tooth until you can see your dentist for a broken tooth repair. Any temporary fix will last longer if you do not try to eat or chew with the side of your mouth that has a temporary in place.
Super glue is never advised to use to fix anything attached to natural teeth! If a denture tooth has been dislodged or broken from a denture, super glue might be an option for a temporary repair. If you feel confident that the dislodged denture tooth can be slipped easily back into place within the denture base, make sure the denture and tooth are very dry and use a tiny amount of glue to secure the denture tooth temporarily.
If you have unfortunately suffered from any of these broken tooth situations please make sure to contact your dentist. All of these fixes are only temporary. It is important to get in to see you dentist to have the restoration properly re-cemented or, if needed a new restorations placed.
For more informaiton about the restorative treatments that we offer, please visit http://www.theperfectsmilekc.com/Restore/