Broken Teeth: A Dental Emergency

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Many different dental issues are considered dental emergencies. One common dental problem that should receive emergency dental care is a broken tooth, especially if the tooth is permanent. 

Primary teeth are shed over time. Even if they sustain damage, the teeth are eventually lost and replaced by a permanent tooth.

Adult teeth, on the other hand, have no pending replacements. If an adult tooth is lost, it can only be restored using a prosthetic dental device. 

A broken tooth may eventually incur issues that result in the loss of the tooth, such as decay or further structural damage. Here is a bit of information about broken teeth and what you should do if you suffer a broken tooth.

Why Do Breaks Occur?

Although your tooth enamel is extremely hard, it can still be broken. Here are a few ways that break occur:

  • Sports. Contact sports offer multiple opportunities for a ball or an opponent's limbs to make damaging contact with your teeth.
  • Accidents. A trip, fall, or automotive accident may cause your mouth to crash into unyielding objects. The blow may be much much harder than the pressure incurred during mastication. As a result, a tooth may break.
  • Bruxism. Dental grinding often occurs at night, especially if you are suffering from anxiety or stress. As the top and bottom teeth are pressed together, the jaws may move back and forth in a lateral motion that further stresses the teeth. Some teeth may simply wear away from the pressure. However, others may actually break.
  • Decay. As bacterial acids dissolve the enamel of a tooth, the tooth is left in a weakened state. Thus, simply chewing food may cause the tooth to break.
  • Hard items. A tooth is also likely to break if it is habitually used to chew on hard items, such as pencils, ice, pen tops, and fingernails.

What Should You Do When You Break a Tooth?

If you have broken a tooth, you may notice small bits of tooth material in your mouth. You may also notice unusual dental sensitivity and discomfort. Blood may even flow from the area around the tooth.

Once you suspect that your tooth has been broken, you should schedule an appointment with an emergency dentist as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, salvage any broken bits of the tooth to take with you to the dental office. If you are uncomfortable holding the bits in your mouth, simply place them in a container of milk for easy transport.