It can be scary to bite down into a sandwich or chew on a handful of nuts and suddenly find a piece of tooth in your hand.
At least, you think it’s part of your tooth.
Broken Tooth or Filling?
Most of today’s fillings are made from a composite resin material dyed to match the natural color of teeth. If a piece of a tooth colored filling breaks off from your tooth, it can be difficult to tell whether it’s a filling or a piece of your enamel.
It’s even possible for a piece of tooth and filling to break off at the same time.
You may be able to figure out the difference between a broken filling and a chipped tooth depending on how much it hurts. If a filling breaks or falls apart entirely, your tooth may be a bit sensitive, at worst.
On the other hand, a small chip in your tooth doesn’t usually hurt. If the damage is large enough, however, it may hurt a lot.
How to Treat a Broken Tooth or Filling
Rinse your mouth out with warm water to get rid of debris. You won’t be able to put a broken filling back on your tooth, but if it’s enamel it may be possible to bond it back in place. But you should try to hold onto it to show your dentist, storing it in a sealed container of saline or milk. If you’re positive it’s a piece of your tooth, get to the dentist within the next hour.
If your tooth hurts, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Fill an empty hole in your tooth with a temporary dental cement (available over the counter.) Or, if there are sharp edges, you can cover them with a piece of sugar-free gum to protect your cheeks and tongue.
Call your dentist for an emergency appointment to get your tooth examined right away.
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