Your child may have been riding his bike or playing baseball with friends and in he walks holding a tooth in his hand with a bloody lip. As a parent you’ll likely immediately think the worst and begin to panic.
Or you are munching on a bucket of popcorn and bite down too hard on a popcorn kernel and immediately know you have broken or chipped your tooth…we’ve all been there.
Not to worry – Dr. Jensen and his team have got you covered!
For children and adults alike, the treatment for a broken or cracked tooth is similar. The most important thing to remember is not to panic. When a tooth breaks or chips, it may not hurt right away, but your tongue will quickly find the new sharp area in your mouth. If you’re missing a large portion of your tooth, or it has broken off entirely, you may feel some pain.
- Rinse your mouth well
- Apply pressure with a tissue or gauze to stop any bleeding. If that doesn’t work, try a tea bag with pressure until bleeding stops.
- Apply some ice or a cold pack to any bruised cheek or lips
- Try an over the counter pain reliever to reduce pain and swelling
- Call Dr. Jensen’s office at 616-866-7720
Toddlers and children
One consideration with a baby tooth that is bumped, broken or damaged is the possibility of damage to the underlying adult teeth. The most common treatment for a missing baby tooth is to let the adult tooth grow in – no implant or further treatment needed. However when the impact has been severe and your child has cuts or lacerations on the gums or lips, it may be a good idea to visit Dr. Jensen for an antibiotic or your pediatrician for a tetanus booster.
Teens and adults
The most common insult to permanent teeth is the result of sporting injuries or accidents. The best preventative measure is a mouth guard made by your dentist for use during sports. Treating a damaged adult tooth depends on the severity of the break and the age of the patient. Sometimes a simple filling will fix the problem when others may need a root canal or even an extraction.
If an adult tooth has completely come out (avulsed tooth), the best thing to do is to pick up the tooth by the crown, gently rinse it and soak in milk on your way to the dentist. An avulsed tooth has the best chance of survival if it can be addressed and re-implanted within an hour, so call Dr. Jensen right away!
Most common treatments
- Minor cracks: Surface cracks rarely need treatment, but sometimes a light polish of the area will smooth out any rough spots.
- Cracked tooth: Cracks can sometimes be repaired with a filling, but often require a crown to prevent further cracking in the future. If the nerve is damaged, you may need a root canal.
- Chipped tooth: Minor chips can often be polished and don’t always need treatment. Dr. Jensen will sometimes recommend a filling to keep the tooth from getting worse.
- Broken cusp: A break that affects the chewing surface of the tooth can be repaired but sometimes require an onlay or a crown.
- Serious broken tooth: When the nerve is exposed causing pain and bleeding – you will likely need a root canal to remove exposed nerve and get you back to chewing and eating normally.
- Decay-induced broken tooth: Your tooth has broken due to a cavity or old filling – in some cases the tooth may need to be removed, but can likely be treated with a crown or onlay.
If you have any questions about any of the outlined conditions above, please don't hesitate to call Dr. Jensen and his team - 616-866-2270.