Although your teeth are surrounded and protected by the strongest substance that your body produces (enamel), they can still crack or break, either from direct trauma or after being weakened by decay. Depending on the severity of the damage, your tooth may or may not experience immediate discomfort. Either way, leaving your tooth cracked or broken is never a good idea; the structural damage will weaken your tooth further, leaving it subject to further damage. Luckily, a broken tooth isn’t hopeless. Your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Burds, explains what you should do if your tooth cracks or breaks.
Dangers of a Broken Tooth
In some cases, a cracked or broken tooth may not exhibit discomfort, but can still pose a risk to your oral health. A healthy tooth is comprised of layers, the outermost of which is the strong, highly mineralized substance called enamel. Underneath this thick protective layer is the main structure of your tooth, called dentin. Softer than enamel, dentin closely resembles your bone structure, and surrounds your tooth’s inner chamber, called the pulp, which houses your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. If the damage to your tooth extends beyond enamel and dentin and exposes your pulp, the soft tissues will be defenseless against bacterial infection and tooth decay.
Take Immediate Action
Unfortunately, you can’t repair an injured tooth from the comfort of your own home. Unlike other parts of your body (your bones, for example), your teeth do not possess the cells necessary to repair themselves. When damaged, your teeth require professional dental care, or you may risk tooth loss. Treating the tooth depends on the location and severity of the damage, but you can increase your chances of avoiding infection in the meantime by following Dr. Burds’ dental emergency tips:
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water to wash away dirt and debris.
- If your tooth hurts, an ice pack or cold compress pressed to the side of your face can help reduce pain and swelling. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- If bleeding is present, apply pressure to it with a clean piece of gauze for 10-15 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.
- Even if there is no discomfort, the jagged edges of a broken tooth can scratch and cut your tongue, lips, and cheeks. If you can’t visit our office right away, then cover the tooth’s rough edge with a dab of paraffin wax or dental cement.
Restore Your Smile with Help from Your Des Moines Dentist
To treat your cracked or broken tooth, contact us immediately to schedule an appointment with your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.