What Do You Do When You Find Yourself with a Cracked Tooth?

What Do You Do When You Find Yourself with a Cracked Tooth?

oral health careChipping or cracking a tooth is something that can happen due to many different reasons. This usually happens when you bite into something hard, or when you get hit in the face and your tooth suddenly cracks or chips. Cracks can also happen when the tooth is weakened by decay. This can be a very painful experience, or it may not hurt at all, depending on how big a chip or crack it is.

While small chips may not hurt, it can be rather annoying, especially when your tongue passes over it and feels the sharp edge of the place where the tooth chipped. If the crack is rather large however, it can bring a lot of pain, which can mean that the tooth nerve got damaged. This pain often increases when the crack is left untreated, and you drink hot or cold beverages, or even when the tooth is exposed to air.

When your tooth gets a crack, the best recourse would be to see your dentist as soon as possible. Even when you don’t feel any pain from it, it is best if you schedule an appointment with your dental professional as soon as you can. Some dentists advise that if there is no pain, you don’t need to have your dentist look at it that same day. You don’t need to drop everything, and you can set your dental visit on the weekend, as long as you take care of the tooth until then.

Here are some things that you need to do when a tooth is chipped, but there is no pain or the crack is not that big:

  • Rinse your mouth with a combination of warm water and salt.
  • If there is some bleeding, you might want to apply some gentle pressure to the area with the use of gauze until the bleeding stops.
  • To prevent swelling, an ice pack over the area may be ideal as well.
  • It is also advisable that you watch what you eat when you have not yet visited your dentist to have this taken care of. Even when there was no pain the moment the tooth got chipped, you might experience some pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold.
  • Try to avoid chewing anything too hard during this time since this may cause the tooth to chip some more.

When you find that the tooth does have a big crack, and is leaving you in a lot of pain, you should go see your dentist immediately. Here are some other things you can do before you visit your dentist:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. You should also rinse your mouth out with warm, salty water.
  • To help prevent the tooth from cutting the inside of your cheek (if this has a jagged edge), you can try to cover it with a piece of sugarless gum till you can get to your dentist.
  • Try not to eat anything in the meantime. If your appointment is set for a later hour, but on the same day, try to ingest mostly soft or liquid food, to avoid further chipping the tooth with chewing.

What treatment your dentist will use on your chipped or cracked tooth will depend on the severity of the problem. A minor crack may take only one short dental visit to fix, while bigger and more serious issues may take longer, or even more than one dental visit. Just make sure that after your dentist treats your tooth, you continue with your prescribed dental regimen, and you follow what your dentist tells you when it comes to caring for your repaired tooth.

Dr. Allan Hawryluk
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Dr. Allan Hawryluk

Allan Hawryluk Jr. is a Mississauga-based dentist who has built a reputation for comprehensive dental care. Born and raised in Port Credit, he returned after completing his dental residency in 2003 at the University of Colorado, Denver Health Sciences Center. He feels privileged to serve the community and is committed to maintaining our clinic standards set by his late father - Dr. Allan R. Hawryluk (Sr).