It doesn’t get much worse than breaking a front tooth. A broken front tooth usually happens at the worst possible time, right before a big event or while on holidays, limiting your ability to eat and talk, plus the embarrassment that comes from missing such a key part of your smile.
The hours just after breaking or losing a front tooth are vital and require quick decisions. Every case is different and the type of injury/trauma you have suffered plays a big part in what treatment options you have.
What happens if you find yourself in this position?
We will determine what emergency treatment will be best to get you back on track.
Is your tooth loose?
‘Tooth concussion’ is another name for a tooth that is loose after taking a hit to the mouth. It is typically accompanied by bleeding and mild to moderate pain.
If your tooth is still intact but a little loose, you might be feeling lucky because you were spared the worst. Although, that might be true, but it doesn't mean you can sit back and relax. Depending on the strength of the hit, the tooth might have sustained damage to the root. It’s important to seek emergency dental treatment as soon as possible after the concussion occurs. Because you are always using your teeth, assessment will determine if it requires splinting.
A broken tooth
A broken tooth occurs when a large piece of the tooth is knocked out, often exposing its roots and pulp. If you suffer a broken tooth, you will likely be in moderate to severe pain and will feel the need to arrange a dental appointment urgently. Left untreated, broken teeth can result in severe pain, infection, swelling, and a potential medical emergency.
Knocked Out Tooth (Avulsion)
A tooth that’s been completely knocked out will result in the most bleeding of these three traumas.
The International Association of Dental Traumatology treatment guidelines for avulsion is as follows:
Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. Try to encourage the patient / parent to replant the tooth. Bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk or a special storage media for avulsed teeth if available (e.g. Hanks balanced storage medium or saline).
The tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek. If the patient is very young, he/she could swallow the tooth. Therefore, it is advisable to get the patient to spit in a container and place the tooth in it. Avoid storage in water!
Seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
What to Expect!
In most situations radiographs (xrays) of the affected area is required to determine the severity of the situation and to create a treatment plan for temporary and permanent solutions based on the severity of the injury.
Each situation is different, but if the original tooth can be saved that will be our priority. Expect a few follow up appointments to monitor the healing of the tooth. If a front tooth cannot be saved there a number of short- and long-term tooth replacement options.
It is so important to get a professional opinion as soon as possible after the trauma occurs. Not seeking care can lead to an infection or the possibility that a partially-damaged tooth would need to be completely extracted. The best thing to do is be prepared and rest assured, we are here to help you get the best outcome.