Tooth damage affects your smile, but it can also have more serious consequences. Chips, fractures and cracks can make it harder to eat, cause pain or sensitivity and put your mouth at risk of further injury or infection.
A chipped or cracked tooth is considered a dental emergency and needs treatment as soon as possible. Find out what to do if your tooth chips or cracks and what options your dentist might discuss for restoring your smile.
What to do if your tooth is chipped or cracked
Teeth can be injured by impacts or biting into something hard. If you think your tooth has been injured or damaged, try to stay calm and not panic, as this could make the situation worse.
- Check your mouth for any signs of debris that could cause harm if accidentally swallowed.
- If your mouth is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth until it stops.
- If your tooth or jaw aches, this can be managed by taking painkillers or applying a cold compress or icepack to your cheek.
- Don't touch the injured tooth or use it to eat until you can see a dentist.
- Contact your dentist for more advice or to arrange a same day emergency appointment if you need urgent attention.
- If you see any pink on the injured tooth, this could indicate an exposed nerve inside the tooth. This needs immediate treatment or the tooth could be lost.
How can a tooth be fixed?
Your dentist will examine your teeth and take dental x-rays to see the extent of the damage so they can recommend the most suitable treatments to restore your tooth. Even if damage isn't visible to the naked eye, small cracks and fractures can weaken a tooth or put you at risk of infection.
- Small chips and cracks may be repaired using a sealant or by placing a white filling.
- If more of the tooth's structure is missing or a crack has weakened your tooth, a dental crown may be fitted over the top of the tooth to restore its strength and natural appearance.
- Another option to repair minor damage to teeth is dental veneers, fitted over the front of teeth to change their appearance. However, veneers are strictly a cosmetic treatment and require good oral health.
How to avoid dental accidents
While accidents can't always be avoided, you can lower your risk of needing emergency care and corrective treatments by taking steps to protect your teeth.
- Wearing a sports mouthguard can reduce the severity of injuries from contact sports and other risky activities.
- Avoiding biting down on overly hard foods and not using your teeth to open nuts, bottles or packaging will also make your teeth less prone to damage and wear.
- Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping up with your regular dental check-ups can help to keep tooth decay, gum disease and other oral health problems at bay, which can weaken teeth and make them more vulnerable to damage.
Need an emergency dentist in Brisbane?
Swish Dental offers emergency dental services in Brisbane at our clinics in Everton Park and Mitchelton.
Queensland Government. Emergency dental [Online] 2015 [Accessed September 2019] Available from: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/services/oral-eye-ear/emergency-dental
Healthdirect. Dental crown procedure [Online] 2019 [Accessed September 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-crown-procedure