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What to do If a Tooth is Damaged

Steps need to be taken immediately when a tooth is damaged in order to provide appropriate care for the tooth. If you have a tooth is damaged because of chipping, breaking or a fracture or if something has happened to a filling, take steps until you can see your dentist. If you don't, infection may set in and the tooth will suffer other dental problems up to and including the loss of the tooth.

If your tooth is broken, chipped or fractured in some way, try to see your dentist within hours Most dentists will give emergency appointments. If the damage is due to a trauma of some sort, such as a car accident, you should try to be seen at emergency room right away. Immediately afterwards, you should see your dentist. Damaged teeth can be repaired most of the time. Your tooth may need more aggressive treatment, than they give at the emergency room, such as capping or filling to be restored to its original condition or even in order to be saved.

In the event that bleeding is an issue, this can be stopped by applying direct, but gentle, pressure to the gums, but not to the tooth itself. If an upper tooth is involved, the pressure should be applied above the tooth, and if the tooth is in the lower portion of the mouth, then pressure should be put on the area of the gums just below the tooth. If swelling should present itself, then be sure to rinse your mouth with warm water, applying a cold compress to the area afterward.

If, after you have had damage to a tooth, you find a piece of a broken or chipped tooth, bring the piece or pieces with you when you go to the dentist. Many times the dentist can repair the tooth with these broken pieces, since he has the required skills and equipment. It is cheaper and easier than replacing the tooth to have him cement them back together. However, the dentist can just as easily make a new filling for your tooth, so don't bother bringing lost fillings if you find them.

Be careful if you have jagged edges on a tooth that was chipped or broken. These sharp ends can often irritate the surrounding soft tissue of the mouth, causing a great deal of pain. To prevent this, as an emergency measure, put a small piece of soft wax in the damaged area. Your dentist can file down the edge when he sees you, but meanwhile, you can prevent unneccessary damage to your gums with this method.

If you must eat, eat only soft foods until you've be seen by your dentist. Also be sure to chew on the opposite side of the mouth from the damaged tooth. If you chew on the damaged tooth you will cause further irritation and perhaps even infection, resulting in further damage or tooth loss. Also avoid extremely hot or extremely cold food. Foods that have extreme temperatures cause further pain and can further irritate the damaged area.

You want to make sure that the gums around the tooth close up and the blood is able to coagulate. This is because there is a lot of blood in the area of the gums. Avoid taking any aspirin products because they will interfere with the blood coagulation factor. Take Advil, Motrin or Aleve in small doses. You should be alright, as long as you don't have any allergic reactions to these OTC medications. You should be able to get this information from your pharmacist, who should have a list of the medications you take.

You will probably not lose the tooth, if you follow these common-sense guidelines and take steps to repair dental damage immediately. You'll also increase your chances of keeping the damage to a minimum. Plus, If you visit your dentist regularly,and keep your teeth healthy and clean, your chances of healing quickly will increase.

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