You’ve just chipped your front tooth – it might have been during a meal, a child butting against your head, or an accidental fall. Now what do you do? It may not hurt per se, but it’s definitely noticeable!
Step 1: Save any tooth fragments
If a large portion of tooth broke off and you can find it, save it! Place it in a cup of milk or saline. It’s important to not attempt to clean the fragment, as this can make it impossible to bond back into place. Large tooth fragments may be bonded back into place in some circumstances. If it is only a very small sliver of enamel, then it most likely won’t be an option.
Step 2: Call your dentist
As soon as you’ve chipped your tooth, call your dentist. Most dental practices will have set times of the day that they have set aside for emergency dental visits. If it is after hours, leave a message and contact number with the answering service or on the emergency line. Once you’re at the office, your dentist can discuss whether or not the tooth needs to be smoothed, have a restoration, or the chipped enamel can be bonded back into place. Severe fractures may need more extensive treatment to prevent nerve damage and loss of the tooth.
Step 3: Follow up
After your accident, monitor your tooth for any changes in color, swelling, or continued enamel breakage. Trauma such as hits or falls can cause nerve damage that may not appear until years later. Your dentist will conduct routine exams and x-rays to monitor the health of your tooth and its nerve. He or she will also check the stability of any restorations that have been placed to ensure they are holding up adequately.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry
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