If you have chipped or broken off a piece of your tooth, your first instinct might not be to run to the dentist to fix this seemingly small cosmetic problem. What you might not realize is that what starts off as a small chip can often turn into a much larger and more painful problem. In order to properly resolve your broken tooth it is essential that you:
- Pay particular attention to the warning signs of infection
- Understand why seeing a dentist at a place like Maplewood Dental Associates, PA is essential in preventing future issues with your tooth
- Implement some simple remedies and techniques in the meantime to alleviate pain, protect the tooth and ward off infection
The Warning Signs Of Infection
Although the enamel that covers your tooth is one of the hardest tissues in the body, certain things can test the tooth's limits. A broken tooth can be caused by:
- biting down on something too hard
- getting hit in the face or falling
- a cavity that has weakened the tooth
- old fillings that do not support the tooth anymore
What may seem like a small break due to eating or an accident might have been caused by another more serious issue that you did not know even existed. Warning signs are the best way to know if your tooth is just cosmetically broken or if there is something more severe going on. Some of these signs include:
- Experiencing pain while eating, chewing or putting any pressure on the tooth
- Throbbing pain when eating foods that have extreme temperatures
- Having frequent or on-going toothaches
The Importance Of Seeing A Dentist
Even in the case of a cosmetic issue like a small chip of the tooth, a dentist should repair the tooth before the chip becomes worse. A small broken tooth can be chipped even further if not fixed leading to infection and possible removal of the tooth.
Especially if you are experiencing toothache-like pain, this is often an indication that you have had nerve damage to the tooth. When your tooth is broken:
- The pulp inside of the tooth, containing all of the nerves and blood vessels, can become exposed
- Bacteria will infect the inside of the tooth and can damage the pulp
- The damaged pulp will soon die
- If the pulp is not removed, the entire tooth can become infected and will need to be extracted using a root canal procedure
If after your visit to the dentist, he or she discovers that the tooth is not infected and simply needs to be cosmetically fixed, these small issues can be quickly resolved before larger problems arise. The dentist can:
- Fix a small chip in the tooth using a filling
- Shape a more noticeable break in the tooth using a dental bonding procedure
- Repair a larger break in the tooth by covering it with a crown
What You Should Do In The Meantime
Sometimes it is difficult to see a dentist immediately and you will need techniques to protect the tooth or alleviate any pain that you might be feeling in the meantime. It is essential to remember that these remedies should not be used as a method of treatment and that it is still important to see your dentist as soon as possible. To protect the damaged tooth you should:
- Put wax paraffin or a piece of sugar-free chewing gum on the broken tooth to keep it from cutting into your mouth and gums
- Avoid extreme temperatures in food or drinks
- Stay away from foods that are high in sugar or extremely acidic
- Avoid hard or crunchy foods
If you are experiencing frequent or on-going toothaches, you can use some of these natural remedies to help control and alleviate the pain.
Warm Water Rinses
Along with rinsing with plain warm water, salt water can be used to keep bacteria away from any exposed pulp. You can also rinse with hydrogen peroxide, which will have a similar effect but will kill the bacteria rather than rinse it away.
The eugenol found in clove oil acts as a natural numbing solution that can temporarily relieve that pain that you might be feeling. Apply two drops to a cotton ball and hold it over the painful tooth (be sure to apply the oil carefully and never pour the oil directly onto the tooth).
Guava leaves contain analgesic and antimicrobial properties, which can help to reduce throbbing pain. Chew a couple of leaves in your mouth softly or boil the leaves in water and use the resulting solution as a mouthwash.
Garlic and Ginger
To take advantage of garlic and ginger's antibiotic components, smash a fresh piece of garlic or ginger until you have a paste any apply it to the tooth.
By treating your broken tooth as more than just a cosmetic issue, you can get the proper help and assistance you need and protect your broken tooth from serious infection.