You Broke a Tooth. Now What?

You’ve clenched and ground your teeth until one of them broke, or tooth decay weakened your tooth enough that the right amount of pressure caused it to break. Or, perhaps you were in an accident, or a fight, and your tooth broke from blunt force trauma. Regardless of how it happened, your tooth broke, and your next step should be to fix it as soon as possible.

What a Broken Tooth Means

Given the fact that teeth break quite frequently, you might be surprised to know that your teeth are protected by the most resilient substance your body produces, tooth enamel. The protective layer and the dentin underneath it, which comprises the majority of your tooth’s structure, are designed to protect the nerves and blood vessels at the center of your tooth (collectively known as the pulp). When a tooth breaks or fractures, the pulp can be exposed to bacteria that lead to a destructive infection called tooth decay.

Steps in a Dental Emergency

If your tooth breaks, then fast action and professional treatment can save it from infection and help preserve what remains of your healthy tooth structure. In case of a dental emergency involving a broken tooth;

  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water, especially around the tooth
  • Gather and rinse any pieces of the tooth you find
  • If bleeding occurs, apply pressure with a clean, moist gauze for about ten minutes, or until the bleeding stops
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen, to temporarily alleviate discomfort
  • Call our office immediately to schedule an emergency visit

How to Repair a Broken Tooth

Before repairing a broken tooth, Dr. Van Wicklen will clean the interior and fill it with a dental filling to seal the tooth from bacteria. In severe cases, a root canal procedure may be necessary instead of a dental filling. Once it’s restored, the tooth can be capped with a custom-made dental crown to protect it from future damage and the pressures of biting and chewing. Usually crafted from porcelain that’s tinted and layered to mimic a tooth’s color and shine, a dental crown can improve your smile’s overall appearance while restoring its structural integrity.

About Your Austin Dentist:

Since 1985, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen has been providing expert cosmetic and restorative dentistry services to patients and families in Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next dental consultation, call our office today at (512) 448-3131.