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Dental Trauma

Teeth are remarkably strong but they can chip, fracture or break. Teeth usually break as a result of trauma from biting down on something hard or from a blow to the face. A child may fracture a tooth falling off a bike or curb during play. Adults with a damaged nerve usually require root canal treatment, but in children, there's a possibility the nerve can be saved if the dentist is able to treat the problem immediately. A knocked out permanent tooth can be saved with prompt action.

In the meantime :

  • First of all locate the tooth immediately after it has been lost. It should be picked up by the natural crown (the top part covered by hard enamel). Do not be handled by the root. Gently rinse under running water in case the tooth is dirty. It should never be scrubbed, washed with soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, or other chemicals. The tooth should not be dried or wrapped in a tissue or cloth. It must be permanently kept moist .
  • The tooth may be placed in a clean container of milk, cool water with or without a pinch of salt, or in saliva, the last being the best option. If possible, the patient and the tooth should be brought to the dentist within 30 minutes of the tooth loss. Quick action improves the chances of successful re- implantation. It is possible to save a tooth after 30 minutes also, if the tooth has been kept moist and handled properly.

Dental trauma is apparent upon examination. Dental X-rays may be taken to determine the damage to the broken tooth. More comprehensive X-rays are needed to diagnose a broken jaw.

Dental Treatment

Treatment of a broken tooth will vary depending on the severity of the fracture. For immediate first aid, the injured tooth and surrounding area should be rinsed gently with warm water to remove dirt, then covered with a cold compress to reduce swelling and ease pain. A dentist should examine the injury as soon as possible. Any pieces from the broken tooth should be saved and brought along.

  • If a piece of the outer tooth has chipped off, but the inner core (pulp) is undisturbed, the dentist will may simply smooth the rough edges or replace the missing section with a small composite filling. In some cases, a fragment of broken tooth may be bonded back into place.
  • If a large section enough of tooth is missing but the pulp is not permanently damaged, then the tooth will be given require a protective coverage with a gold or porcelain crown.
  • If the pulp has been seriously damaged, then the tooth will require root canal treatment before it receives a crown.
  • A tooth that is vertically fractured or fractured below the gumline will require root canal treatment and protective restoration.
  • A tooth that no longer has enough remaining structure to retain a crown may have to be extracted (surgically removed).

Home Remedies for Broken Teeth

  • You can place an ice cube on the tooth; it will numb the pain and will provide temporary relief .
  • A dab with clove oil will sooth the pain.
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