What You Should Do If You Break A Piece Off Of Your Tooth

Biting down on hard foods and candies can cause your tooth to crack or break apart. If you find you have broken a tooth, there are actions you can take to minimize the damage to the broken piece, remaining tooth, and yourself while you are waiting to get to the dentist office. Here is what you should do if you break off a piece of a tooth.

Protect Broken Piece

The dentist might be able to utilize the piece that broke off of your tooth, so you need to protect the broken piece to give your dentist the best chance to successfully reattach it back on to your tooth. If you can (sometimes you might accidentally swallow the broken piece or spit it out into a sink drain), take the piece and carefully rinse off any food substances that might be on it. Take a napkin and wrap the tooth in it. You will want to wet the napkin to keep the piece moist.

Treating Broken Tooth

A broken tooth can become very painful. To minimize your discomfort, take a couple of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help relieve the pain. You should also get a cold pack, or ice cubes wrapped in a cloth napkin or towel, and press it on the outside of your cheek where the root structure of the broken tooth is located. You have to protect the interior of the broken tooth from food and other debris. Food and other substances can cause your tooth to become infected, and this could lead to you losing the entire tooth.

If you can't get to the dentist right away, stop at a drug store and pick up some temporary dental cement to cover the tooth to protect it from foreign debris getting into the break. While you are at the drug store, you should pick up some wax paraffin or sugarless gum to cover any sharp edges on the tooth that were also caused by the break. When a piece breaks off of your tooth, there are often sharp edges left on the broken tooth still in your mouth. These edges can slice your tongue and the inside of your cheek if you don't cover them.

You should get to a dentist as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth and to prevent the tooth from becoming infected. Once you get to the dentist, they will be able to determine the extent of the tooth damage and what options you have to fix your tooth. (For more information on what to do in a broken tooth situation, contact Family Dental Care or another practice)