Is a broken/chipped tooth or lost tooth a dental emergency?
When teeth fall out as a child they are usually replaced by a set of permanent adult teeth. If a permanent tooth is knocked out or falls out of your mouth it is considered a dental emergency. Without immediate treatment the chances or replanting the tooth are low and there may be a risk of developing an infection in the socket of the tooth that has fallen out.
Similarly, a broken or fractured tooth can also quickly become a dental emergency. While some tooth fractures may require no treatment at all, other fracture types may put your tooth at risk for infection or extraction. While you can visit a hospital emergency room if your tooth is broken or has fallen out, it is likely that they will redirect you to a dental expert who can properly assess, diagnose, and treat the tooth.
If your tooth has fallen out or if you believe your tooth is fractured or broken, an appointment with Cedar Mountain Dental can help allow our experienced staff to provide you with expert diagnosis and care, helping to prevent future complications and keep your smile healthy.
What causes a tooth to break or fall out?
While teeth are relatively strong, they can chip, break, and even fall out. Teeth can break for a variety of reasons, including sustaining direct injury to the face, falling, chewing down on something hard, or having cavities. Similar to a broken or chipped tooth, a tooth may fall out if there is an infection of the tooth, trauma or injury to the tooth or mouth, severe tooth decay, and in some cases oral cancer or other diseases. Most often, when an adult tooth falls out, it is considered to be a dental emergency, often requiring immediate treatment. On the other hand, not all tooth fractures are considered dental emergencies. To help determine if your unique dental situation is a cause for concern and if treatment is required, a consultation with an experienced dental expert is recommended.
What are the signs and symptoms of a broken tooth or a tooth that has fallen out?
If your tooth has fallen out, the first symptom you will notice is an immediate gap in your smile. Other accompanying symptoms of a missing tooth include pain and bleeding at the site of injury.
If you have broken or fractured your tooth, symptoms will vary depending on the type of break. Some breaks may be accompanied by symptoms of pain, bleeding, and swelling, while some breaks or fractures may be painless.
How can I tell if my tooth is broken or has fallen out?
A broken or missing tooth can usually be self-diagnosed as you may feel the tooth as it breaks or falls out. However, when a tooth breaks or if your tooth falls out unexpectedly, a thorough oral exam by your doctor can help determine the cause, severity of damage, whether the tooth can be salvaged, and if/what treatment is required.
Can a broken or missing tooth lead to complications if left untreated?
Left untreated a broken tooth or a tooth that has fallen out may lead to further complications, including infection, spreading of cracks or breaks in the tooth, impaired chew or bite, and shifting of surrounding teeth.
How are broken or lost/missing teeth treated?
Depending on your unique emergency dental situation, such as the degree of damage sustained to the tooth, treatment will vary. If the tooth is knocked out, you have access to the tooth, and you can make it to the dental office in an appropriate time, your dentist may be able to repair and reimplant the tooth that has fallen out. To help increase the odds or reimplantation of the tooth, you should:
- Avoid touching the root of the tooth
- Gently hold the tooth near the crown
- Rinse the tooth with milk or water if milk is unavailable
- Avoid wiping the tooth on any fabric, which can ruin the tooth
- Gently place, but do not force, the tooth back in the socket
- If you can not place the tooth back in its socket, carefully place the tooth in a glass of milk or in between your cheek and gum as an alternative
- Head to the dentist as soon as possible, preferably within an hour of the tooth falling out
When you arrive at the dental office, your dentist will further clean the tooth of any excess debris. All knocked out teeth will require a root canal, either immediately or at a later time. If the tooth is not broken, your dentist will place the tooth back into the socket from which it fell out of. Your dentist will then splint the knocked out tooth onto the surrounding teeth with a wire or other dental materials. The splint will remain for as long as your dentist determines appropriate and until the root of the tooth reattaches to the bone.
If your dentist is unable to reimplant the tooth or if you can not find the lost tooth, your dentist may recommend certain tooth replacement options to help maintain the appearance of your smile, prevent bone loss, gum disease, and to help prevent surrounding teeth from shifting out of place. Tooth replacement options may include dentures, a dental bridge, or a dental implant.
If your tooth is broken or fractured, your dentist will recommend different treatments based on what type of crack your tooth has sustained and its severity. Emergency treatment and repair of broken teeth or tooth fractures may include:
If you are experiencing a broken or lost tooth, a consultation with one of our dental experts may be the first step toward a brighter, happier, healthier smile. At Cedar Mountain Dental, our staff utilizes the latest state-of-the-art technology to prevent, diagnose, and treat dental conditions. With over 30 years of dental expertise, our knowledgeable and caring dental staff is committed to delivering high-quality patient care and creating meaningful patient relationships that last. To come in for a broken or lost tooth call (860) 667-2600 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.