Discovering a piece of your tooth has broken off can be pretty alarming. Whether it causes pain or bleeding, a cracked or chipped tooth should not be ignored. The situation's urgency depends on the damage's type and severity.
Understanding the Symptoms and Causes
A cracked or chipped tooth may be immediately noticeable, especially due to biting something hard or experiencing trauma, such as a car accident or a fall. However, some incidents, like grinding teeth (bruxism) at night or having large fillings, can cause fractures without obvious signs.
Symptoms of a broken tooth may include feeling a space or jagged edge where the piece broke off, intermittent pain, sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods, and possible bleeding or swelling around the affected area. The severity of these symptoms determines the urgency of seeking dental attention.
Caring for a Chipped Tooth Before Seeing a Dentist
If a piece of your tooth breaks off, save it to show the dentist during your visit. While it cannot be reattached, the dentist might want to examine it. If there's bleeding, gently bite down on clean gauze.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and topical anaesthetics can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Rinsing with warm salt water or using clove oil may offer relief. Temporary solutions, such as orthodontic wax or dental cement, can smooth sharp edges or fill gaps.
Diagnosing and Treating a Chipped Tooth
Some breaks are apparent, but others require specialized tools to detect. Dentists may use magnifying lenses or dental dyes to identify cracks.
Treatment varies based on the size and extent of the chip:
- Small chips: Dentists can smooth the edges or use regular filling material to repair minor damage. Porcelain or resin composite fillings can match the natural tooth colour for the front teeth.
- Large chips: If a significant portion of the tooth breaks off without harming the root, a crown may be recommended to restore the tooth's appearance and function.
- Chips damaging the root: A root canal procedure might save the tooth if the tooth breaks entirely at the base. In severe cases, extraction may be necessary.
Understanding Cracked Teeth
Cracked teeth come in different types, some of which may require immediate attention:
- Craze Lines: Superficial hairline cracks in the enamel often don't require treatment.
- Fractured Cusp: Cracks on the chewing surface can usually be treated by replacing fillings or getting crowns.
- Cracked Tooth: A crack extending from the chewing surface to the gum line can be painful and may require a crown or root canal.
- Split Tooth: A deep crack can split the tooth into two pieces, often leading to tooth extraction.
- Vertical Root Fracture: A tooth root crack may require a dentist's prompt evaluation.
Don't Delay - Seek Dental Care
Regardless of the size of the chip or crack, it's essential to have your broken tooth evaluated by a dentist. Ignoring the issue could lead to infections, costly treatments, or tooth extraction. Chipping and cracking are not typical for healthy teeth, so if you're experiencing tooth damage, consult our dentist's office to assess the problem and recommend appropriate treatment.
For chipped tooth repair in Kelowna, trust the dental professionals at Rutland Dental Centre for exceptional care and practical solutions.