Is a Broken Tooth an Emergency

No one expects to break a tooth which can happen anytime in a matter of seconds. Eating something very hard or being involved in an accident or fall can easily cause tooth damage though not all incidents need immediate attention. If you experience a small chip that is bothering you, your dentist may be able to see you the next day to at least smooth the tooth to prevent sores on your tongue and cheek.

A broken tooth is not necessarily an emergency though any chipped or broken tooth should certainly be addressed as soon as possible. But sometimes, you just cannot get to your dentist right away! Understanding dental emergencies and what does and does not require immediate medical attention can help you better determine what you need to do if you break a tooth.

How do I know if I need to seek emergency dental treatment?

A minor fracture or chip likely will not require immediate attention though it will need to be addressed sooner rather than later, even if you are not experiencing any pain or sensitivity. A minor chip can quickly turn into a major fracture so it is important to have any damage assessed and treated by your dentist as soon as you are able.

A true dental emergency requires immediate attention, if not by your dentist then another medical professional and needs to be attended to on the day the emergency occurs. It may be necessary to go to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care clinic in the event that you cannot get to your dentist due to extenuating circumstances, like being out of town.

Get to a hospital if you cannot see your dentist!

Most hospitals have a dentist on staff so you will still be able to receive treatment from a dental professional, even if you cannot see your own dentist. This way, you will at least be out of pain and any issues that need to be handled immediately can be addressed.

Major tooth fractures often require emergency dental care in order to save the tooth from splitting in half and having to be extracted. If a large piece of tooth has broken off or your tooth is severely fractured, you will probably be uncomfortable and sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages. If a tooth is fractured through the enamel into the pulp, the pulp of the tooth can become infected from naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth and you will need a root canal to remove the infection before the fracture can be repaired.

If you chip or break a tooth, call your dental office as soon as you can, regardless of the time of day. Even if you experience a dental trauma after business hours, the office will have an emergency number available to reach a doctor so that they can advise you and even see you if necessary. Don’t let a broken tooth cause you more trouble than necessary, get to your dentist as soon as you can to prevent further damage.

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