Broken Teeth

“Last week, I slipped and banged my chin. Now it hurts when I chew.”
“My husband says I’m grinding my teeth at night. Can that damage my teeth?”
“Does a chipped tooth need attention even if it doesn’t hurt?”

As a rule, human teeth are pretty strong, but they can still break, chip, crack or loosen. That damage can occur due to brittle teeth, teeth grinding, or injury…and in many cases, the damage may not be visible to the human eye. If you experience any pain while chewing, you should contact Dr. Cordini to schedule an x-ray to determine the cause. Even if you have no immediate pain, but you suspect you’ve damaged a tooth, you should get it looked at promptly to be sure there is no risk of further damage or deterioration. When an accident occurs in which a tooth is broken or knocked out, it is important to keep the tooth moist at all times to increase the possibility of saving the tooth until you are able to reach the periodontist’s office.

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, often occurs unconsciously while you sleep. It can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. Stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or teeth that are missing or crooked can all cause you to grind your teeth. Some symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • dull headaches
  • jaw soreness
  • teeth that are painful or loose
  • fractured teeth

It is not uncommon for children to grind their teeth. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it does not usually require treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence. Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children could be:

  • irritation in the mouth
  • allergies
  • misaligned teeth

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask your child’s dentist about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.

Sports-related accidents, falls, or other mishaps can also result in broken, chipped, cracked or loosened teeth. You can reduce of the risk of accidental damage by:

  • Wearing a mouth guard when participating in sports
  • Avoiding chewing corn kernels, ice, and hard candy, as any of these can crack a tooth
  • Never using your teeth to open something

Nevertheless, accidents happen, and knowing what to do when they do can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. In a dental emergency, it is important to visit your periodontist or the emergency room immediately, but until you get there, the following tips could reduce the risk of further damage.
Dr. Cordini’s tips for common dental emergencies:

  • It is important to keep a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in place without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Then, get to our office as quickly as possible.
  • If you have cracked a tooth, immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Cold compresses on the face will help to keep any swelling down.
  • Sometimes an accident will cause you to bite your tongue or lip — clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress.
  • For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Then use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth – gently and carefully. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.
  • Never try to remove objects stuck in the mouth with a sharp or pointed instrument. Instead, try to gently remove with floss.

These steps help to minimize damage and pain, but when you have a dental emergency, visit your dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.

Solution

If your tooth damage is a result of grinding, Dr. Cordini can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, a muscle relaxant before bedtime may be appropriate. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety if that is the cause of your grinding.

If you’ve lost a tooth or teeth, or if the damage is beyond repair, Dr. Cordini can provide various state of the art options to replace them. Together with Dr. Cordini, you can decide which option is best for you, depending on your unique situation. Those options could include:

  • Bridges are anchored to your adjacent teeth; these can be removable or fixed, depending on your mouth and your needs.
  • Dentures are an option if you’ve lost all or most of your teeth.
  • Implants are the most similar to natural teeth.

Are you experiencing similar symptoms?

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