A dental emergency can happen at any time. While eating innocent tortilla chips or watching your child’s soccer game on a beautiful Saturday morning – you just never know when you may crack, chip, or break a tooth. Dental emergencies can be scary, but it’s important to remain calm and contact your dentist as soon as possible to prevent any further damage from being done. If you ever experience a dental emergency, here are some key reminders that may help you save your teeth.
Anatomy of a Tooth
Our teeth are made of bone. They are very strong but extremely vulnerable at the same time. The crown of the tooth, or the part we can see, is comprised of enamel, dentin, and pulp. The pulp is made up of nerves and blood vessels deep inside the tooth that keep them healthy, and allow you to feel pain and discomfort if you damage them. The dentin is a strong cushion of bone that keeps the pulp safe, and finally the enamel is the hard outer surface that protects the dentin from becoming infected or breaking and exposing the pulp. Enamel is one of the strongest substances in our body, and strong enamel means strong teeth.
Below the surface, the same layers of dentin and pulp are present, but instead of a hard outer shell, there is a porous layer of cementum that binds the tooth to the jaw bone. When any of these layers become compromised, with a crack, chip, or break, infection becomes our number one concern. Infection of the tooth, can cost you the tooth followed by lengthy, complicated treatments.
Injury and Infection
Injuring a tooth is extremely common and easily fixable if it is treated as soon as possible. Common injuries include chips and cracks. These types of injuries often only initially affect the enamel and can be caused by many things, chewing on hard objects, like ice or nuts, or facial trauma. When a tooth is cracked or chipped, bacteria in the mouth can easily penetrate the dentin and from there can infect the pulp causing serious pain and possible extraction. When you crack or chip a tooth, you’ll notice pain immediately because the nerves in the pulp become exposed. The longer you leave a cracked or chipped tooth untreated, the more bacteria is able to reach the pulp and cause severe pain and decay.
When you crack or chip a tooth, the first thing you should do is call your Melbourne Dentist. Dr. Brazdo will be able to treat your injury quickly and effectively, to prevent any infection from reaching the pulp and causing serious issues. There are many treatment options depending on the severity of the crack or chip, from crowns to composite bonding. The severity of your injury will dictate the treatment.
Breaking and Knocking Out Teeth
Dealing with a crack or chip can be very painful, but not extremely alarming when it comes right down to it. Capping a chip with a crown or sealing a crack can seem like small peanuts when you break or lose a tooth. This is where people start to get very scared, but keeping your cool is extremely important.
When a tooth is knocked loose and falls out, it is possible for your dentist replant the tooth with little to no damage if you follow some very simple steps.
- Be very careful to not touch the root of the tooth. Cementum is fragile and the tissues that surround the nerve at this part of the tooth are extremely fragile at this time. Hold the tooth only by the crown.
- If the tooth has dirt or debris on it, do not scrape or rub it to get it off. Gently rinse it in a bowl of lukewarm water. Even running it under a faucet could damage the tissues.
- Call your dentist and get into the office as soon as possible.
- Keep the tooth between your cheek and gums while you are on your way to the dentist, or in a cup of lukewarm milk. If you have ADA approved tooth-saving solution readily available, it is safe to use that.
- When you get to your dentist, be sure to tell her exactly what happened and she will do her best to restore your tooth and fix the damage done.
Keeping your teeth safe from harm and keeping them strong by eating healthy foods, brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly is the best way to make sure your teeth are not susceptible to breaking or cracking. However accidents do happen, and if you can remain calm and contact your dentist at as soon as possible, your teeth and smile will be just fine.