You’re enjoying a crunchy snack when all of a sudden part of your tooth breaks off. You panic at first, but then you notice that it isn’t causing you any pain. Not a big deal, right? Wrong! Any time one of your pearly whites is broken, regardless of whether it hurts or not, there’s a chance that it could lead to even bigger issues down the road, such as infections or further damage that causes you to lose the tooth altogether. To avoid these outcomes, follow these 5 first aid tips from your emergency dentist.
1. Make an Emergency Appointment Right Away
You’ll need to have your chipped tooth examined as soon as possible so that your dentist can figure out the best treatment option. For moderate chips, a filling or a porcelain veneer can help cover up the damage, but in severe cases you might get a crown; sometimes, if the break is severe enough to expose the nerves and blood vessels to bacteria, you could even need a root canal. No matter what your needs are, scheduling an emergency appointment is the first and most crucial step.
2. Cover Any Sharp Edges
In many cases, the edge where the tooth was chipped will be sharp; if you’re not careful, it could cut or irritate the soft tissues in your mouth. You can cover these edges with a piece of dental wax or some sugarless gum.
3. Eat with Care
Ideally, you shouldn’t be putting anything in your mouth until after you’ve received dental care, but if you do need to eat, limit yourself to soft foods and don’t chew with the chipped tooth; you don’t want to risk breaking it further. Also, damaged teeth tend to be sensitive, so avoid foods that are extremely hot or cold.
4. Take Some Painkillers
If the tooth hurts, over-the-counter pain medication will usually help. When you call to make your appointment, you can ask your dentist what pain relief option would work best in your case.
5. Reduce the Swelling
Sometimes a seriously fractured tooth will be accompanied by swelling. You can keep it down by holding a cold compress over the affected area; keep it in place for 10 minutes, remove it for another 10 minutes, then repeat.
While there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the odds of chipping a tooth – such as wearing a mouthguard while playing sports, not biting down on hard candy, and using proper tools to open containers instead of your teeth – the worst case scenario can still happen. As such, it pays to be prepared; put together an emergency dental kit and be ready to call your dentist at any time. Don’t let a chipped tooth catch you off guard!
About the Author
Dr. Oshin Anjirghooli is dedicated to continuing his education and training every year so that he can always bring his patients the best dental care possible. When an emergency strikes – whether it’s a chipped tooth, a toothache or another issue – he’ll bring you the relief and treatment you need as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment at his West Hollywood practice, visit his website or call (310) 246-0995.