3 Ways to Fix Damaged Teeth
If there’s a cookout in your plans for Labor Day, you may be looking forward to chowing down on ribs, chicken wings, or a steak. Enjoy, but be careful; all of those foods can damage teeth if you bite into a bone. Fortunately, if you do break or otherwise damage a tooth, we can fix it for you. Call us ASAP at 903-625-9297 if you’ve suffered dental damage. If you’re a new patient, you’ll receive an emergency exam for just $1!
In this blog, we’ll look at three ways to fix damaged teeth, one of which will likely work for your smile. We’ll also review how to handle a broken or chipped tooth, and list some of the foods to avoid (or at least be careful when eating).
Repair Dental Damage With a Veneer or Crown
Since it covers your entire tooth, a crown can repair nearly any kind of dental damage, even serious breaks. To get a crown, it’s necessary for us to shape your cracked or broken tooth to create an abutment. At most dental practices you’d then receive a temporary crown to wear while your final restoration is manufactured at an outside lab. We use a system called CEREC, that allows us to design and create your crown in our office. So you’ll receive your crown in one appointment instead of waiting several days – or longer – for your crown.
If the fit needs to be modified, we’ll make the change right away with our 3D design software. You won’t have to worry about miscommunication with a lab or further delays. Another part of CEREC’s digital design process that our patients appreciate is the scanner used to create impressions of your teeth. Most patients don’t miss the messy “goop” usually used to make dental impressions.
For a small break or a chip, we may recommend a veneer instead of a crown. These ultra-thin restorations cover only the front surface of teeth, so far less modification of your tooth is required. They usually require two visits to our office. Both a crown and a veneer will strengthen your tooth, so it’s less likely to suffer further damage. A small chip may need nothing more than a bit of tooth contouring, a fast and simple procedure.
You’ll Need a Root Canal if Your Tooth Becomes Infected
It’s important to fix damaged teeth ASAP. If not, you risk bacteria getting inside your tooth and causing an infection. If that happens, we’ll likely suggest a root canal to save your tooth. During a typical root canal process, we will:
- Remove the infected pulp from inside your tooth
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect the tooth’s interior
- Seal the tooth shut with a crown
How to Deal With Dental Damage Until You Can See Us
The actions you take after an accident may affect our ability to fix damaged teeth. For broken teeth:
- Rinse your mouth with warm water.
- If there is bleeding, use gauze to stop it. If that doesn’t seem to work after a few minutes, try a damp tea bag. The tannic acid in tea helps blood clot.
- If you’re in pain, apply a cold compress to your face near the break and take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Do not use aspirin if you are bleeding; take ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead.
- If there is a jagged break, cover it with dental cement to prevent cutting your tongue or cheek. You can even use a small piece of sugarless gum in a pinch.
For a chipped or cracked tooth, be careful eating until you can see us. Avoid very hot or very cold foods, as they will likely irritate your tooth. Don’t eat foods that are difficult to bite or chew, as you risk worsening the damage.
Don’t Fix Damaged Teeth; Avoid Damage in the First Place
To avoid breaking or cracking teeth in the first place, use caution with these foods:
- Olives, or other foods with a pit. In the same way, you’d avoid jumping into a pool without knowing how deep it is, exercise caution with an olive or any other food that may have a hard pit inside that can damage your teeth.
- Meat. When you can, use a knife and fork to help you avoid bones. Ribs and wings can be especially challenging, as most folks eat them without silverware. Be especially careful; choose boneless wings if you can.
- Ice. Don’t crunch down on ice. Just don’t. Sucking on it is more refreshing anyway.
- Popcorn. It’s not the popcorn itself that’s the problem; it’s the kernels. If you’re eating from a bag or tub, give it a shake so kernels fall to the bottom. Leave the “crumbs” with kernels alone. It’s not worth the risk of cracking or breaking a tooth to get the last bit of popcorn.
- Apples. We hate to put apples on our “watch” list as they are healthy. But apples and other crunchy produce like pears and carrots can be problematic. When consuming these nutritious foods, consider cutting them into smaller chunks.
We’re happy to advise you on the best way to fix damaged teeth. Call All Smiles right away at 903-625-9297. Remember, if you’re a new patient, an emergency exam will cost only $1!