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How to Handle a Broken Tooth and Other Dental Emergencies

  • July 16, 2019

How to Handle a Broken Tooth and Other Dental Emergencies

A broken tooth can happen any time. Yet these kinds of injuries are especially common in summer, when folks are more active. (Of course they happen in winter here too, with our proximity to ski resorts like Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain.) Dealing with a broken tooth – or any dental emergency – goes more smoothly if you’re prepared.

Here we’ve shared our tips for what to do about a broken tooth until you can get to our office in Boone, NC. We’ve included tips for handling other common emergencies too. If you need quick assistance in a dental emergency, call us ASAP at 828-355-5673.

In fact, our first tip is to program our number into your family’s phones so you can reach us right away. In certain situations like a knocked-out tooth, minutes count; you’ll save several minutes not having to look up our number. Keep it in a central spot in your house too and on cards in your wallets. That way you can reach us if your phone is without power or you just don’t have it with you.  

We can usually provide same-day emergency dental care. If you call after hours, you’ll be directed to a special emergency line. Whether you see us the same day or the next day, you’ll enjoy better results if you take the proper steps before seeing us.

Seek Help for a Broken Tooth ASAP

A cracked or broken tooth is a common dental emergency. Seek help as soon as you can because the inside of your tooth may also be damaged. Collect any broken pieces, if possible, and bring them with you. You may want to use dental cement (available in drug stores) to cover broken areas. This will help protect your mouth from sharp or jagged edges. It may also help keep bacteria from getting inside your tooth.

You can use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for pain relief. Avoid aspirin, as it may cause any bleeding to worsen.

If the pulp inside your tooth is damaged, Dr. Airey may need to perform a root canal procedure. If the pulp isn’t damaged, he can likely repair your broken tooth with a dental crown. Because we have a CEREC system, you’ll be able to receive your new crown in a single visit. No need to wear a temporary restoration!

Don’t Ignore Signs of an Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is another common emergency. It can result if a broken tooth is left untreated. If you’ve got one, you may notice:

  • Swollen gums
  • A toothache or jaw ache
  • Pain when chewing or applying other pressure
  • Tooth that looks dark or discolored

If the inside of your tooth is infected, Dr. Airey will perform a root canal to save the tooth and prevent the infection from spreading. Many people approach a root canal with dread, but they shouldn’t. Saving a tooth with this procedure is preferable to extracting it. Unlike an extraction, recovery from a root canal involves no stitches or bleeding. Plus, you won’t have to worry about replacing your tooth.

With a Knocked-Out Tooth, Minutes Count

We may be able to save a knocked-out tooth by re-implanting it into its socket. It’s important, though, that you get to us as quickly as possible. It’s best to see us within an hour of losing the tooth.

Follow these steps to improve the odds of keeping your tooth:

  • Don’t touch the roots. Handle it only by the crown (the white part).
  • Gently rinse to remove dirt or other debris, but don’t scrub or remove any attached tissue. We recommend covering your drain with a small towel or washcloth so you won’t lose the tooth down the drain if you drop it.
  • Try to place the tooth in its socket, and apply very gentle pressure.
  • If you can’t get it into the socket, place it between your cheek and gum or put it into a small container and cover it with saliva or milk. You must keep the tooth moist.

Get Dental Cement for a Damaged Restoration

It’s a good idea to keep dental cement on hand, as it’s helpful for dealing with damaged dental restorations. With fillings, you don’t even need to worry about finding any material that fell out. Just use dental cement as a temporary replacement until you can get to our office. Dental cement can also be used as an adhesive to keep a damaged crown in place and to cover any sharp edges. It only lasts about 48 hours, though, so don’t wait too long to visit us.

Remember, we can make a new crown for you, if needed, in just one appointment!

Other tips for a broken crown:

  • Avoid biting down on it.
  • If the crown feels very loose, try to gently remove it so you don’t swallow it.
  • Take a pain reliever, preferably acetaminophen (Tylenol), to ease any discomfort.

No matter what kind of emergency you’ve experienced, we’ll relieve your discomfort and get your smile functioning properly again ASAP. Massage chairs, neck pillows, and blankets are just a few of the comforts we offer that will help you relax during treatment. You can also receive safe dental sedation if you need it.

Call Appalachian Dental Care at 28-355-5673 for help with a broken tooth or other emergency.

Call today to schedule your same day appointment!
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