If you break a bone, you probably know you should seek medical attention right away. You'll undoubtedly be in pain and unable to use the part of the body you broke. But what happens when you break a tooth? After all, sometimes only part of a tooth breaks off and you might not feel any pain. It might even seem like your tooth still works just fine.
A broken tooth is usually caused by trauma -- from biting down on something hard like a bagel chip to receiving a blow to the face. Tooth decay can also weaken a tooth, eventually causing it to break. Sometimes a broken tooth will cause a toothache or jaw pain; other times you might feel only mild tooth sensitivity.
If you have a broken tooth, consider it a dental emergency and call an emergency dentist right away! While broken teeth can range in size and severity from a chipped tooth to a completely knocked out tooth, any dental trauma warrants immediate attention. Even though you might not feel any pain, there may be damage to the tooth or its roots that you don't know about. And this damage may eventually lead to pain or tooth loss.
Self-Help Tips for Broken Teeth
Before you get to the dentist, follow some self-care tips:
Save any broken teeth pieces. If it was a clean break, your dentist may be able to cement the broken tooth back together as a temporary fix. If possible, put the broken tooth fragments or completely knocked out tooth in a container with a small amount of milk or saline.
Rinse broken teeth fragments with warm water. If a tooth is completely knocked out, hold it by the crown (top) and rinse it off with water. Do not touch the roots of the tooth or try to scrape the roots to remove dirt.