Broken Tooth? What You Can Do In This Dental Emergency

Don’t let a chipped or broken tooth ruin your holidays.

Not only is a broken tooth inconvenient during the holidays, when there are parties to attend and many dental clinics are operating at limited hours, but also your broken tooth can cause a lot of pain as it affects nerves, supporting tissues, and surrounding blood vessels.

If left unattended, your broken tooth can lead to a number of unwanted issues such as shifting teeth, bone loss, digestive problems, among others.

At Country Dental here in Cambridge Ontario, we’ve put together these helpful tips for dealing with a broken tooth, whether it’s cracked, fractured, chipped, or knocked out, and no matter when it may happen.

Remember, Country Dental offers 24-hour emergency dental services – we are here when and if you need us! Call 519-620-7474.

Steps for Fixing a Broken Tooth:

If the broken tooth is still attached in your mouth but has experienced damage (cracked, fractured, chipped), here is how you can temporarily fix a broken tooth until you can see the dentist:

1. Remove any broken pieces of the tooth

Carefully remove any of the broken or chipped pieces of the tooth from your mouth, and rinse with water or milk, and keep moist in saline solution.

2. Rinse your mouth with warm water.

Make sure you remove any other debris from your mouth by gently rinsing with warm water.

3. Slow down swelling with ice packs.

A chipped or cracked tooth can cause severe swelling; applying an ice pack to the area around the injury can reduce the swelling.

4. Take Ibuprofen for pain relief, if needed.

Broken tooth pain can cause discomfort. If needed, take Ibuprofen (instead of Tylenol) to help cut back the pain while you wait to see your dentist.

5. Visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Book a dentist appointment right away and explain the nature of your broken tooth. The dentist can then help repair the broken tooth.

Steps for Fixing a Knocked Out Tooth:

If your entire tooth has fallen out (“knocked out” or what dentists refer to as avulsed) you should follow these steps:

1. Call an emergency dentist.

Make this your first priority or have your partner, family member, or friend do the calling while you follow the next steps. Ideally, you should try to see a dentist within an hour of the tooth being knocked out.

2. Remove the tooth by the crown – do not touch the root.

Carefully take the broken tooth out of your mouth by touching the crown (part of the tooth exposed above the gum) and NOT by the root, which is below the gum. The root is both very sensitive and easily destroyed. Keeping the tooth root intact is critical for your dentist to be able to reattach the tooth.

3. Rinse the broken tooth in milk or water.

Next, clean your tooth by gently rinsing in milk or water. Do not scrub the tooth as this can cause tissue damage.

4. Keep the knocked out tooth moist until you can visit your dentist.

There are two ways you can keep a knocked out tooth moist, depending on how soon you can see the dentist:

  1. Reposition the broken tooth back in your mouth. Make sure the tooth is facing the right way and do not force the tooth back into place.
  2. Store the tooth in saline solution (salted water) to keep it from drying out.

Note: Do not replace knocked out baby teeth in the mouth as doing so can damage the underlying permanent tooth.

How To Prevent Broken Teeth From Happening

As dentists, we believe preventative therapy is crucial to protecting your smile. Here are several ways you can prevent your teeth from cracking and breaking:

  • Schedule a dental examination every 6 months in order to identify and treat dental decay and disease.
  • Don’t delay on dental procedures such as placing dental crowns after root canals or replacing temporary fillings.
  • Always wear protective equipment such as seat belts, helmets, mouth guards, and so on.
  • Put an end to bad habits such as chewing on hard substances not intended for eating or opening bottles with your teeth.
  • Ask your dentist about a night guard if you think you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping.
  • Consider seeing an orthodontist about braces to properly align your teeth, which will make them less likely to fracture upon impact.

If you’ve just broken a tooth, call Country Dental’s Cambridge office at 1-519-620-7474 for a 24-hour emergency dentist and get emergency dental help immediately.

To learn more about what to do in emergency dental situations, including a partially dislodged tooth, severe tooth pain, lodged foreign substances, abscessed teeth, soft tissue injuries, or a broken tooth, visit our emergency dentists page.

You can also visit the Canadian Dental Association’s Dental Safety and Emergencies page.

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