Maintaining Healthy Smiles – What to Do for Chipped or Broken Teeth

smilely face with broken toothChipped or broken teeth are common dental issues that are relatively easy to fix. Chipped teeth can occur for a variety of reasons, including sports injuries, biting or chewing on hard objects and food, hitting your mouth, cavities, or even old amalgam fillings that no longer support the remaining enamel of the tooth.

We wanted to help those who may be in the unfortunate circumstance that is a chipped, cracked or broken tooth, and this blog outlines what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

  1. Find and save the chip if possible – Put the broken piece in a plastic bag or small container and keep it moist with a damp towel or some water. If the nerve is still intact, we can use an adhesive to repair the tooth which best maintains the tooth’s color and shape.
  2. If the mouth is bleeding – Apply pressure with gauze for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding subsides.
  3. If there is swelling or pain – Apply a cold pack for relief.
  4. If you can’t see a dentist the same day – Cover the chipped tooth with dental cement for protection until your appointment.
  5. If you can see the dentist the same day – Great! The more time that passes after you chipped your tooth, the higher the risk of permanent nerve damage to the tooth, so getting in right away is your best chance to save the nerve.

The size and severity of the chip, and whether or not there are any additional injuries, determines what sort of treatment is necessary. A sampling of the issues and treatments include:

  • Small Cracks – A smoothing and polishing of any rough spots.
  • Medium-Sized Chips – Depending on the type of chip, you may have a filling, crown or cap placed.
  • Large Breaks – If the nerve is exposed, it’s likely a root canal is necessary to remove the damaged nerve. A crown or cap will be placed to bring your smile back to normal.

The team at Susquehanna Dental Arts will be able to outline the best path towards restoring your chipped or broken tooth back to normal. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, we encourage you to give our office a call at 717-684-3943 or 717-285-7033, or our afterhours dental emergency line at 717-368-1920, and we’ll be happy to help!