Cracked or broken teeth can cause a variety of painful complications, potentially resulting in lost teeth. Fortunately, broken teeth are uncommon, thanks to the impressive strength and resiliency of healthy teeth. When accidents do happen, however, professional attention is critical, and the sooner the better. Until you can get to the dentist or oral surgeon, however, your quick action can mean the difference between saving and losing the damaged tooth.
Treating Broken Teeth before a Dentist Visit
Ideally, the best way to deal with damaged teeth is to visit to your dentist or oral surgery professional as soon as possible. Until that time, you can provide prerequisite care for your broken tooth. The main self-care step is to clean the damaged tooth immediately. Rinse your mouth and the tooth, if it’s completely broken off, thoroughly with warm water. If you are bleeding, attempt to stop it with gauze and light but steady pressure. Once the bleeding has stopped, cold compresses are great for relieving pain and easing discomfort.
In the case of a delayed dental visit, you can also use a temporary drugstore dental paste to bond the tooth. Common pain relievers are also great options if your appointment is a few days away. If the tooth is broken completely off, experts recommend reinserting it into the socket or storing it in whole milk to keep it from drying out.
What to Expect at the Dentist
Because damaged teeth can range from cracks to a serious break, the treatment by your dental professional will also vary accordingly. At the very least, a polish and filling will be required. At its most severe, the reparations may involve a crown, root canal, complete replacement or removal. In certain cases, such as tooth chipping, your dentist may opt for covering the tooth with a cap or veneers to improve its appearance and overall functionality. Fortunately, in most cases, broken teeth do not require lengthy and painful dental sessions unless the damage is severe enough to impact the nerves underneath the teeth.
How to Increase the Overall Strength of Your Teeth
Being proactive about your oral health is a great way to decrease your chances of experiencing tooth damage. Healthy enamel is the first line of defense for teeth. Poor oral hygiene can weaken the enamel and leave you more vulnerable to damage.
An important element in caring for your teeth is fluoride, which can be found in certain toothpastes, foods and fluoridated water. Fluoride gives your teeth a boost and makes them much more resistant to decay and plaque buildup. Getting enough calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A is also crucial for strong teeth. Getting the right minerals is easy with a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.
The final step is committing to consistent brushing and flossing. Brush at least twice per day, using a fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once per day. Regular dental visits are also critical, including twice-yearly professional cleanings and examinations.
Maintaining your teeth can go a long way in making sure they are resistant to damage and wear. While life events such as sports injuries or car accidents can cause severe tooth damage, you can help make the restoration process a success. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for professional and reliable assistance with your cracked or broken teeth.