It always seems like dental emergencies happen at the worst possible times. To make matters worse, they can be incredibly anxiety-inducing if you don’t know how to handle the situation. If you’ve just chipped your tooth, try to act as calmly and quickly as you can. Here are some simple tips for dealing with a chipped tooth until you reach get to your emergency dentist’s office.
Clean Your Mouth
After your tooth chips or breaks, the first thing you should do is rinse your mouth with warm water. This will clean out blood, dirt, or other debris that may be in your mouth due to injury. If the piece of your tooth that broke off is still in your mouth, swishing water around will help you find it so that you don’t accidentally bite or swallow it.
If your mouth is bleeding, use a clean, damp washcloth or a piece of gauze to apply firm pressure to the wound. Do NOT scrub the area, as this can increase pain and bleeding.
Preserve the Tooth
Your dentist might be able to save the part of your tooth that came off, so try to locate it. Gently rinse it off with warm water, but do NOT scrub it dry or remove any tissue that may still be attached. Then, place it in a container of milk. If you don’t have milk, then you can hold the piece of the tooth in your cheek pocket, but be careful not to swallow it.
Relieve the Pain
To reduce pain and swelling in your mouth, wrap an ice pack in a towel and hold it to your cheek for ten minutes. Remove it for ten minutes and repeat for up to an hour. If you’re still in pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as needed.
Call Your Dentist
Even if you aren’t experiencing any discomfort, it’s still crucial that you contact your dentist as soon as possible after chipping your tooth. Leaving a broken tooth untreated can cause infections and other dental problems to develop later on. Depending on the severity of your injury and how quickly you can reach your dentist’s office, they might be able to repair the tooth with a filling, crown, veneer, or root canal. However, if the damage is too extensive, the tooth might have to be extracted and replaced.
To preserve your natural smile for as long as possible, you’ll want to call your dentist immediately after you notice a chipped tooth. In most cases, your dentist can get you in for an appointment that very same day so you can receive smile-saving care right away!
About the Author
Dr. Michael L. Howard has been a family dentist in Marietta, GA for 30+ years. At Leading Edge Dentistry, he keeps up with the latest dental technology to give his patients the smoothest, most comfortable treatments possible. If you find yourself with a chipped tooth, contact Dr. Howard’s office at (770) 425-2001 or visit his website to schedule your same-day emergency dental appointment.