How to Handle a Broken Tooth

If you have injured a tooth and don’t know how severely, it’s time to get to a dentist. You may not feel or hear the tooth breaking, but you may find the small piece of tooth in your mouth, or your tongue may feel the suddenly sharp area left behind by the break.

How Quickly Do You Need to Get to the Dentist?

Some broken teeth are minor, cosmetic problems that may not need immediate attention. Others are dental emergencies that need immediate treatment. How do you tell the difference? In general, your pain can be a guide:

  • No pain generally means the break is minor and doesn’t require immediate attention

  • Increased sensitivity to temperature and pressure means you have likely broken the tooth deep into the enamel and exposed the dentin, softer material underneath that is more sensitive. Make an appointment with your dentist at the next convenient time. You may paint the broken area with temporary dental cement, often available at drug stores, to reduce sensitivity.

  • Severe pain that is constant and flares when exposed to pressure and temperature changes may mean that you’ve exposed your tooth root. This should be treated as a dental emergency—quick action may be required to save the tooth.

Do not try to replace the broken portion of your tooth. If you have the piece and it is large, store it in tepid milk or saliva on your way to the dentist. The piece likely cannot be restored, but it may help your dentist figure out why your tooth broke.

How We Will Treat Your Broken Tooth

When you have broken a tooth, we will give it an appropriate treatment depending on the severity of the break. Minor cosmetic breaks can be treated with dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

For more serious breaks, we may recommend porcelain onlays or dental crowns, both of which can be done while you wait. These will protect your remaining enamel and strengthen your tooth.

If your broken tooth compromised the tooth root or was due to decay, you may need endodontic treatment (root canal) as part of your treatment.

If you have a broken tooth, please contact Ascent Dental in the Cherry Creek area of Denver for treatment.

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