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Take These Steps Immediately if You Break a Tooth

You aren’t unique if you focus more on the calories, fat content, and overall nutrition in the foods you eat rather than how your teeth might react to all that lunchtime chewing and between-meal snacking.

The bad news? Hard foods can cause even healthy teeth to chip and crack. The good news? Our dental team might be able to repair the damage and restore the tooth if you follow a few simple steps.

Dr. Brett Lent leads our team here at First Impression Dental, where we focus on creating healthy smiles for residents in and around Fresno, California. Our mission is to provide stellar dental care for your entire family. We know that accidents happen and are happy to provide information about what to do for a broken tooth.

Why teeth break

Although the enamel that covers and protects your teeth is the hardest tissue in the human body, it’s susceptible to damage. Common causes of chips, cracks, or fractures in teeth include:

Previous dental work, such as old amalgam (silver) fillings, can also leave the remaining tooth structure brittle and susceptible to breakage over time.

What to do when you break a tooth

The steps you take depend on the nature of the break. If, for instance, a tooth breaks off completely:

If your tooth should pop out of its socket, try putting it back and holding it gently in place with your tongue or cheek until you reach our office.

If that’s not possible, place the tooth in a small container of milk. If it’s dirty, you may very gently rinse the tooth but don’t scrub it or wipe away any tissue. Be sure to handle it by the upper or crown portion rather than the root. 

We generally recommend that you get to the office within 30 minutes for the best chance of saving a tooth.

Do I need to see the dentist for minor chips or cracks?

You might be tempted to ignore a crack or missing portion of a molar that’s out of sight or doesn’t cause pain. We recommend, however, that you come in for an exam and treatment since even a minor crack or fracture may eventually affect the overall health of the tooth.

How do you treat a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth?

Treatment for broken teeth depends on the type and extent of the break, as well as the underlying cause. Deep cracks related to large cavities or old fillings, for instance, may require a root canal and crown. Smaller chips and cracks are often easily repairable with veneers. If the damage is significant and the tooth can’t be saved, Dr. Lent may recommend a dental implant to preserve your smile and oral health.

Whether it’s an emergency or a routine exam, you can count on our team at First Impression Dental to provide the quality care you need. Schedule your visit today!

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