What if you break a tooth in lockdown?
What if you break a tooth during lockdown?
In this lockdown period access to dental care is very limited and patients are being advised to manage their care at home. Dentists are answering telephones and many are able to call patients or to carry out a virtual consultation by video.
It’s advisable not to take any risks with your teeth, however many patients may break a tooth in this time and may not want to bother their dental practice as it isn’t a dire emergency like facial swelling or unbearable pain, but it can still lead to anxiety about what to do!
Teeth with Large Fillings
Sometimes teeth break or a tooth crumbles because they already have a large filling. This can leave a thin wall of tooth and sometimes one bite of a hard substance is the last straw for the strength of the tooth and a bit comes away. This then exposes the inside of the tooth or dentine and depending on a few factors there may or may not be pain or sensitivity.
Pain can come if the gum was irritated by the broken piece coming away. This should clear up in a few days if you keep the area clean.
Sensitive to Hot or Cold
Sensitivity to hot and cold can occur if the break is close to the nerve of the tooth or if a wide surface area is exposed. So it is worth being very careful with hot and cold things until you feel how it is. The best thing you can do to manage a cavity due to a break is to keep it clean so that the risk of tooth decay is lessened. A good fluoride-containing toothpaste will help with this.
If the tooth is very sensitive then a temporary dental cement can be used. You’ll find it from a chemist or online. The important thing is to try and dry the tooth before applying using a cotton bud. Saliva washing over the break can stop anything from sticking.
In the absence of this material, sugar-free chewing gum can help to shield the break and also helps as a buffer if the tooth edges are sharp and irritating your tongue.
Breaks due to decay
Sometimes teeth break or a tooth crumbles because there is decay which has undermined the enamel or outer layer. In this case, it is really important to use a good fluoride toothpaste and to limit the frequency of sugar in your diet to try and prevent further damage.
Food Packing Between Teeth
Sometimes if the break is in between two teeth there may be a problem with food packing. Please try not to let this happen for long periods but use interdental brushes or floss to try and keep the area as clean as possible, without cutting into your gum. Sometimes a mouthwash can help to rinse away debris.
We really hope you don’t have a tooth break during the lockdown and remember, you can always contact us for reassurance or advice. At Cherrybank Dental Spa we are looking forward to being able to take care of these dental issues for you. Keep safe and we are looking forward to seeing you soon.
Elaine Halley, Owner and Dentist at Cherrybank Dental Spa in Perth
Last updated April 30th, 2020