What to Do if Your Tooth Breaks

Your teeth are strong – strong enough to cut through all the various foods you put into your mouth every day. However, they are not invincible. Occasionally, you might experience a tooth that cracks, chips, or breaks unexpectedly, and in these scenarios, it’s natural to panic. After all, your teeth are a massive part of you; they make up your smile and help you enjoy all your favorite meals. So, what do you do? First, it’s a good idea to understand the causes of broken teeth

What Causes a Tooth to Break?

Teeth break for all sorts of reasons. It can happen to anyone, even those who have looked after their oral hygiene with utmost care. Here are some of the most common causes of tooth breakage: 

  • Biting on Something Hard
  • That hard piece of candy might not just contribute to tooth decay over time, but it can also cause tooth breakage. However, it’s important to note that most people’s teeth won’t break from biting down on hard foods unless there are already problems present, such as a worn or cracked tooth. 

  • Injury to the Face/Jaw
  • A lot of people experience a broken tooth due to an injury. This is why it’s prevalent for people in fighting sports (such as boxing) to experience tooth breakages. These injuries can range in severity – it might just cause a slightly broken or chipped tooth, or it could knock almost all the tooth out, which may require emergency treatment. 

  • Old Fillings
  • If an old filling is left in too long, it can expand into the tooth’s structure and cause cracking, leading to breakage. 

  • Eating Acidic Foods
  • Acidic foods, such as tomatoes and grapefruit, can cause damage to tooth enamel. Over time, this may weaken your teeth to the point it experiences cracking. 

  • Bruxism 
  • Bruxism (grinding teeth) can wear the enamel down over time. This leaves your teeth vulnerable, especially when it comes to cracks and breaks. 

    How Serious Are Broken Teeth?

    A lot of the time, the broken tooth is only really an aesthetic issue. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have other problems – usually, underlying issues, such as tooth decay and bruxism, causing broken teeth. Even in those who have good oral hygiene, it’s important to get a broken tooth looked at, as ignoring the problem can lead to worsened damage and infections. 

    Some cases of broken teeth also require emergency dental care. 

    What To Do If Your Tooth Breaks 

    You will usually notice as soon as you break a tooth what has happened, as part of the tooth will come free. In some cases, there may be symptoms of pain, discomfort, and sudden sensitivity. Either way, booking an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible is essential. 

    Contacting Your Dental Surgery 

    Calling your dentist should be the first thing you do after breaking a tooth, no matter how severe the breakage is. However, if you’ve chipped a tooth, there may not be as much urgency as if you had damaged a nerve. When booking an appointment, you will likely be asked to describe what has happened. 

    Waiting for Your Appointment 

    If your case isn’t an emergency, you will likely have time between breaking your tooth and the appointment. To prevent discomfort, here are some things you can do:

    • Avoid hot or cold foods/beverages
    • Rinse your mouth with warm water or salt water after eating 
    • Avoid tough, hard, and chewy foods
    • Use pain medications 
    • Avoid chewing with your broken tooth 
    • Apply ice if there’s swelling

    When to Seek Emergency Treatment?

    In some cases, time is of the essence, and you shouldn’t wait for an appointment. Seek emergency dental treatment if you’re showing any of the following signs after breaking a tooth:

  • You’re in a Lot of Pain
  • In some cases, a broken tooth can reach the gum’s nerves and blood vessels, resulting in a lot of pain. This shows that the damage is severe, and you must seek emergency dental treatment immediately. 

  • You’ve Lost the Whole Tooth 
  • You must seek emergency dental treatment if an entire tooth has come free from trauma. While waiting, you can place your tooth back in the socket to protect the tooth’s cells. 

  • You Are Bleeding Profusely
  • Any time you are bleeding heavily from your gums – whether due to a broken tooth or otherwise – it’s essential you seek emergency dental care. 

    Treatments for a Broken Tooth 

    So, what happens once you get to your dental appointment – how will the dentist treat your broken tooth? The type of treatment depends on the severity of the broken tooth, as well as what caused it. Here are some of the treatments you can expect after breaking a tooth. 

  • A Filling
  • Dentists perform fillings every single day for all sorts of reasons – including for broken teeth. A filling is a temporary solution that will slot into the broken tooth and is a straightforward procedure that shouldn’t cause any problems. 

  • Dental Bonding 
  • Dental bonding is a common dental procedure that involves using a tooth colored composite resin to repair chips. Usually, this cosmetic treatment is done for minor tooth breakages, such as a minorly chipped tooth. 

  • Dental Crowns 
  • Crowns can be placed into the mouth to cover up the affected area. This type of restoration is ideal as it is safe and long-lasting. 

  • Tooth Extraction
  • In some cases, the only thing a dentist can do after you’ve broken a tooth is extract it. Usually, this is when the tooth has decayed to the root or if the breakage is vertical and there’s no way to fix it. In this case, you can also get a dental implant to replace the extracted tooth. 

    How to Prevent Your Teeth from Breaking 

    Knowing what to do if your tooth breaks isn’t the only advice you should take away; you should also learn how to prevent it in the future. It’s always better to prevent a tooth from breaking than have to deal with the aftermath! 

  • Wear a Mouthguard
  • If you have problems with teeth grinding, wearing a mouthguard at night can help. Talk to your dentist about this. 

  • Avoid Acidic Foods
  • Foods with high levels of acidity will wear down enamel, so avoid eating too much of these (especially if you have sensitive teeth). 

  • Look After Your Teeth 
  • It’s more likely you will suffer a broken tooth if you don’t care for your oral hygiene well enough, so be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss routinely, and go to the dentist for a regular check-up twice a year. 

    Need to Book a Dental Appointment?

    Have you broken a tooth and need dental care? Or, maybe you want to look after your teeth better to prevent tooth problems from happening? Here at BAFDentistry, we offer high-quality dental care to all our patients, with treatments including dental crowns, cleanings, prevention, fillings, implants, and more. As a leading provider in dentistry, you can expect nothing less than a comfortable and professional experience.