Broken Tooth: What to Do About the Pain Until You Visit your Dentist?

A broken tooth is never pleasant for the patient. However, broken teeth are one of the most common dental emergencies. Fractures can range from small pieces to complete tooth fractures.

Although a broken tooth cannot only be painful, it also usually requires immediate dental care.

This is why it would be better for you if you visit your dentist immediately if one of your teeth breaks below the gum line. However, if you do not have the opportunity to visit your dentist immediately, then you can follow our dental tips in order to relieve the pain of your broken tooth.

How does a tooth get broken?

Each tooth has a hard, outer layer which is commonly called enamel. The enamel is the hardest material in the whole human body. It protects blood vessels and nerve tissues of the tooth. 

Caries are the leading cause of toothache, which can actually break your teeth. Biting a hard food, loose fillings as well as emergency sports accidents can also cause you to crack the enamel of your tooth or even break a tooth. A broken tooth can be painful and eventually needs to be treated by a dentist in order to avoid any further damage or complications. Although, there are some things you can do on your own in order to manage your pain and symptoms. Continue reading and you will be introduced with the tips of managing the pain and symptoms of a broken tooth.

Which is the Proper Management of the Symptoms of a Broken Tooth?

A broken tooth does not always hurt or the pain may appear at different moments. But, if you have exposed nerves or tooth dentin, your tooth can be very sensitive (especially to cold drinks). If a broken tooth leaves a sharp edge, it can also cut your tongue and cheek. Until you can visit a dentist, there are several ways which can help you deal with the pain of a broken tooth at home. These treatments will make you feel more comfortable on a temporary basis, but should never replace a visit to a doctor or dentist.

  1. Rinse in Order to Clean your Mouth

Rinse your mouth gently every time you consume food or drink beverages in order to remove debris that is accumulated around your broken tooth. You can use plain, hot water or brine or even a rinse with equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide (oxygen). Just be careful and do not rinse too hard. This can help you avoid infection and experience more pain.

  1. Use Ice in Order to Reduce Swelling

If your face is swollen, apply ice every 15 minutes for as long as necessary. Cover ice cubes or a cold compress with a towel and hold it on your swollen face. If your broken tooth is the result of an athletic impact or injury, it may take days for the swelling and bruising to get improved.

  1. Use Gauze if you Have Blood

Reduce bleeding by placing a clean gauze in your mouth near the affected area. In continuity, replace the gauze every time it fills with blood.

  1. Be Careful with What you Consume

A broken tooth may have an exposed nerve that is especially sensitive to certain foods and temperatures.

Therefore, you must avoid:

  • alcohol and coffee.
  • cold drinks, which can cause a painful sting on the exposed nerve
  • nuts and celery, which can stick to tiny cracks in the tooth
  • anything very chewy that puts pressure on your tooth, such as steaks, dried meats, chewing gum and candies
  • fruits with seeds, such as strawberries and blueberries
  • Extremely sugary foods, because sugar gives the microorganisms in your mouth more food and can increase the decay of your teeth

Instead of those foods, try to consume soft foods such as smoothies, grilled vegetables and soups.

  1. Try to Chew on the Other Side of your Mouth

Chew the food you consume in parts of your mouth that avoid putting too much pressure on the broken tooth.

  1. Use Painkillers

Follow the label or doctor’s advice in order to relieve pain and swelling with anti-inflammatory drugs and medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. You can also use acetaminophen (paracetamol) for pain relief. 

Remember: Never apply painkillers directly to your gums, as they may burn the tissue and never give benzocaine-containing products to children under the age of 2 years old.

When your Tooth is Broken

Each one of your teeth can break, although each tooth is more vulnerable to different injuries. You can break your front teeth when you use them inappropriately to cut or open something (Remember: Always use scissors and never your teeth to open bundles). 

Moreover, your back molars may be more prone to fractures than grinding your teeth or biting into something hard. Prevent tooth injuries by always wearing a mouth guard when participating in impact sports. In the long run, your teeth are crucial for daily functioning and a great quality of life. 

In addition to chewing food, teeth help keep your speech clear and each tooth is important for maintaining a balanced jaw space. Repairing a broken tooth is essential for your overall health and well-being. 

What are the Risks and Dangers of a Broken Tooth?

If left untreated, a broken tooth can accumulate bacteria, which have a risk of infection or abscess. A broken tooth is also at risk of causing nerve damage and can lead to the need for denervation. In order to avoid infection, keep your mouth clean by rinsing gently after eating anything. You can try a hydrogen peroxide rinse. 

A small study in 2016 detected that hydrogen peroxide improved gingivitis compared to that of a control group. The study involved 45 people with chronic gingivitis. In this study, chlorhexidine showed even better results than hydrogen peroxide, however it can cause stains on teeth and people are more likely to already have available hydrogen peroxide or can easily purchase it from a pharmacy. Some people also recommend applying garlic as a natural antibiotic, but you have to be careful. In addition to the possibility of chewing it by mistake and depositing tiny pieces in the cracks of the enamel, fresh garlic has the ability to burn your skin. Thus, in order to avoid nerve damage, do not chew or talk too loudly and visit a dentist right away to correct the problem.

What can a Dentist Do?

Only a dentist can really fix a broken tooth. Therefore, it is urgent to call a doctor or dentist immediately if your broken tooth is accompanied by fever or if you have signs of infection (redness, swelling, discoloration or hot to the touch skin). A dentist will also be able to assess the damage and look for signs of infection. The kind of treatment you need depends on the sort of crack you have.

5 Things You Need to Know About A Broken Tooth

  • A small crack in the surface of your tooth usually does not need repair.
  • A broken part of your tooth may just need to be polished to soften its tip.
  • A tooth that has cracked to the core should be sealed. If the crack has injured nerve tissue, you may also need denervation.
  • Very broken teeth can bleed and require surgical treatment to save the tooth and its root. Sometimes the fracture starts from the crown (chewing surface) of the tooth and sometimes it starts from the root (under the gums).
  • If your tooth is broken by caries (plaque buildup that causes cavities), your dentist will decide if the tooth needs to be removed.

In Conclusion

There are different kinds of tooth breakage. It is very important to visit a dentist in order to treat the problem and prevent complications, regardless of the cause. But there are ways that can help you manage tooth pain at home until you can seek help, such as ice for swelling, avoiding hard foods and over-the-counter medications.

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