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Injured Tooth: What Should I Do?

As with any trauma to the mouth, you should consult with your dentist immediately to determine if treatment is required. The dentist will examine the affected area and may take X-rays.

If you are in pain from a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever (be sure to follow the instructions as listed on the package). If possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and take this with you to the dentist.

If a tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth by an injury, take the tooth to your dentist as soon as possible. It may be possible for your tooth to be placed back into your mouth, a procedure called reimplantation.

How Does a Dentist Treat a:

Chipped tooth —If there is no pain and the chip is small, it’s up to you and your dentist to decide if, when and how the tooth should be repaired. Depending on the size of the chip, it may be able to be smoothed or cosmetically corrected. Other options include veneers, crowns and fillings.

Cracked or broken tooth —Cracked and broken teeth should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage. If the tooth has exposed the pulp or roots you may need root canal therapy followed by a filling or dental crown. If the tooth is broken below the gumline or beyond repair an extraction may be necessary. Keep in mind that cracks are not always visible, even on X-rays. Symptoms may involve pain while chewing and Sensitivity to cold and possibly hot foods and liquids, as well as air, which may over time become more pronounced.

Tooth knocked out — Permanently lost teeth, whether they’ve been removed by a dentist or accidentally knocked out, should be replaced. This is to avoid problems such as difficulty chewing and speaking, a shifting of position among remaining teeth, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders caused by chewing on the side with more teeth, and a weakening of the jawbone. Options for replacing lost teeth include bridges, dentures and implants.

If you’ve had a dental emergency your first step should always be to call your dentist and book an appointment. Even if your injury happens after hours a lot of dental offices provide emergency contact information. The sooner you can in to see your dentist then the sooner you can start working towards treatment.