What Should You Do If You Chip or Break a Tooth Unexpectedly?

A chipped or broken tooth ranks high among dreaded dental emergencies. Not only are fractures unsightly and embarrassing, but they also threaten long-term tooth viability and health. So what should you do if part of your tooth unexpectedly cracks or chips off? Follow these evidence-based guidelines on caring for and repairing fractured teeth.

Should you see an emergency dentist for a chipped or broken tooth?

In most cases of minor chips or fractures, yes – promptly seeing an emergency or cosmetic dentist is wise. While not all cases require immediate attention, evaluation within several days lets your dentist:

  • Determine if the pulp nerve is damaged, risking infection
  • Clean the area, preventing debris irritation
  • Assess storability and formulate a treatment plan
  • Provide interim relief of sensitivity or discomfort
  • Fit you with a temporary veneer or crown for cosmetics and protection

Seemingly insignificant fractures that go untreated long-term can progress to eventual tooth loss. So don’t delay visitation. Even for minor chips, evaluation and discussion of treatment options from your local dentist office in Brentwood best serve your long-term dental health and smile appearance.

What are temporary remedies for a chipped or fractured tooth?

Before undergoing dental repair, you can temporarily reduce discomfort and improve aesthetics in a few ways:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers – For fractures exposing the inner pulp that triggers throbbing, an OTC painkiller alleviates sensitivity. But see Brentwood Dentistry ASAP if the tooth remains tender with pressure.
  • Wax or sugar-free chewing gum – Applying orthodontic wax or chewing gum seals off sharp edges from chips that irritate lips or tongue tissue. But only leave in place briefly when needed for comfort.
  • Composite resin – If the fractured chunk comes out whole, dental bonding resin can temporarily adhere it back to the tooth until professionally restored for a near-normal appearance.

These provide only stopgap relief until you undergo proper restoration from your dentist, so an exam should occur promptly before worsening or infection arises.

How soon does a chipped or broken tooth need to be repaired?

Ideally within:

  • 1-2 days for moderate fractures or a painful, sensitive tooth indicating possible infection risk requiring investigation or root canal treatment
  • 5-7 days for minor chips and cracks causing tongue/lip irritation or posing long-term threats but without present pain or sensitivity

Only if it is an extremely tiny, superficial chip that causes zero discomfort or soft tissue irritation could wait time be extended slightly before repair to accommodate schedules. Otherwise, promptly schedule care from your local dentist near me in Brentwood. Leaving fractured teeth vulnerable poses a preventable risk.

What are the treatment options for a chipped tooth?

Options depend on the type, location, and extent of fracture but often include:

  • Dental bonding to fill small defects or rough edges
  • Porcelain veneers for front teeth to comprehensively restore form and function beautifully
  • Crowns that surround teeth weakened by decay and damage provide reinforced structure
  • Root canal therapy if fractures extend deeply with pulp nerve involvement

With precise color matching and the lifelike clarity of today’s materials, you achieve repaired health and aesthetically flawless smiles.

When might a broken tooth require extraction?

Hopefully, root canal therapy or restorative solutions salvage damaged teeth, but in scenarios like:

  • Severe fragmentation where repair cannot provide adequate stability
  • Advanced decay undermining tooth foundation even with attempted treatment
  • Severe infection risk from deep cracks infiltrating the pulp nerve

Extraction emerges for tooth preservation and infection prevention. Thankfully, modern dental implants act as optimal tooth replacements, restoring chewing capacity and smile esthetics beautifully.

In the end, prompt evaluation and treatment from your local emergency dentist near you gives damaged teeth the best long-term prognosis. Reach out to the office of Brentwood Dental Art for urgent dental care if you chip or break part of a tooth unexpectedly.