Not all tooth fractures require immediate dental attention. But when a chipped tooth is an emergency, it’s important to know what you must do and the likely causes. In this blog post, we will break down the various aspects of a chipped tooth emergency so that you are aware of how best to handle the situation.
Causes of Chipped Tooth Emergencies
Sometimes, people will immediately know that a tooth has cracked or broken. They will feel it crack and might find a piece of the tooth in their mouth. A chipped tooth can happen in a variety of ways. Common causes include the following:
- Accident. A broken tooth might occur due to being hit in the mouth during a car accident, a fall, or even a fistfight.
- Playing sports without wearing a mouthguard
- Biting into something hard such as ice or hard candy
- Grinding your teeth at night
- Poor dental hygiene
- Using your teeth as tools for opening packages or bottles.
- A very large filling can affect the structure of a tooth and make it weak and brittle and possibly snap off.
- Old fillings and restorations can cause cracking as they pull away from the tooth and come loose.
- Aging, in general, can make teeth more fragile and easy to break.
Knowing the cause of your chipped teeth can help determine if further treatment is needed beyond just repairing the large chip.
Signs That You Need Emergency Dental Care
If you’ve chipped your tooth, look out for signs indicating you might need emergency dental care. These can include:
- Feeling a space or jagged edge where a piece of tooth fell off
- Moderate to severe pain in your jaw or gum line around the affected area. It might come and go instead of being constant.
- Swelling in or around your mouth or face
- Difficulty eating or talking due to pain or sensitivity
- Other symptoms associated with infection.
If these signs occur after chipping a tooth, then it’s time to seek out professional medical advice immediately. Determining whether a cracked tooth is a dental emergency depends on the severity of the symptoms. The worse the pain and sensitivity, the more likely it is that the break has affected the root where the nerves and blood vessels are. The patient should get in to see a dentist right away to get it fixed. It is probably not an emergency if there is no pain, bleeding, or swelling. Even so, if a sharp edge is left behind, it can cut the cheek or gums and make it hard to eat or talk. It could be noticeable to others if it’s in a front tooth. A dentist should be consulted, but it can probably wait a while to get fixed.
What To Do After A Chipped Tooth Emergency
Once you’ve determined that you may need emergency treatment, there are some steps you should take before seeking treatment:
- rinse off any debris from the broken pieces with salt water
- place gauze over the wound and bite down gently to apply pressure if bleeding
- use cold compresses on the outside of your cheek near the broken area
- take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen for pain relief
- consider using anti-inflammatory medications if recommended by your doctor.
Once you are ready for professional medical attention, contact your dentist for an appointment right away. Depending on whether it is a weeknight or weekend, they may be able to fit you in as soon as possible. Still, they may also refer you to an emergency clinic instead, depending on their availability. It is also important that during this period, not eat anything hard like peanuts as this could cause further damage and irritation, even potentially leading to infection if bits get caught inside soft tissue areas until such time when seeing professional help becomes possible. At this point, it is up to dental professionals to assess what needs to be done based on their experience and understanding of the individual case. When it comes to fixing a small chip in case one has occurred during this period, however, usually, most minute cracks do not require restoration work but rather just filing down any sharp edges that have formed since having happened. From there, it’s just about doing whatever is necessary, from keeping up with basic oral hygiene practices with brushing, flossing and regular visits scheduling follow-up appointments accordingly, and advocating for yourself, asking all questions throughout dealing with one’s particular case properly.
In conclusion, preparing to deal with these situations beforehand is always beneficial. So take extra precautions beforehand, such as wearing appropriate sports equipment, using proper oral hygiene techniques, limiting eating hard foods, etc. Understanding the different professional help options available can reduce our vulnerability when facing an emergency. With these few tips, you can ensure that you are better prepared and less at risk.
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chipped-broken-or-cracked-tooth/ https://mypenndentist.org/dental-tips/2021/12/01/emergency-dentist/ https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/repairing-a-chipped-or-broken-tooth https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/injuries/dental-injuries/broken-or-knocked-out-tooth