The treatment will depend on how severely the tooth was damaged.
Breaks can range from small chips to major fractures, so you might need a major procedure, a minor adjustment or no treatment at all.
A tooth has three layers: the enamel is the hard outer shell, the dentin is found under the enamel, and the pulp, which is the nerve center, is at the core.
- Minor chips are common, and involve loss of some enamel. Usually, little or no pain is felt,
- but if enough tooth enamel is lost the dentin may be exposed which might cause sensitivity to cold.
- The most severe breaks expose the pulp, which can cause extreme pain and even bleeding.
If you have a small chip in your tooth, make a routine dental appointment, and try an over the counter pain medicine for sensitivity as long as it is safe for you to take it.
More serious fractures should be evaluated immediately. Rinse your mouth out with warm water, cover the break with a piece of clean gauze to protect it, and see the dentist as soon as possible. Apply an ice pack to minimize swelling if your mouth or lips were injured, and avoid using aspirin for pain because as it increases the risk of heavy bleeding.
- Even if your tooth is only slightly chipped, the dentist is probably going to take an x-ray of the damaged tooth and recommend being gentle with it for a few days.
- A minor chip can often be smoothed out or repaired with white filling material, often without anesthetic.
- Even when a break is severe, a tooth can almost always be saved with a permanent crown if the pulp is not damaged.
- Postponing a crown or replaced filling that has been recommended can place the tooth at risk for a much more serious fracture- perhaps one that cannot be repaired. On those occasions when a tooth must be removed after a fracture, there are several options available for replacing the missing tooth – an implant is often the ideal choice for many people because it provides a permanent solution with a natural appearance