What can I do for a broken tooth that hurts?

Your teeth are made from some of the strongest materials in the human body, second only to the long bones in your arms and legs. Even though teeth are strong, they can break. A tooth that has had a cavity or that has been weakened by eroded enamel is easier to break. An impact to your face, biting down onto a hard surface or biting into a non-food item could also cause your tooth to break. These tips will help you to take action when you have a broken tooth that hurts.

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Call the Dentist

The first action to take when you have a broken tooth that hurts is to call the dentist. The dentist has appointments available every day for dental emergencies like this. If it is after hours, be sure to leave a message or try the emergency contact number. The dental office staff checks messages even on weekends and holidays so that you can be seen as quickly as possible. The dental staff does not want you to be in pain or at risk of an infection, so you will be seen as an emergency appointment as soon as the office is open.

Caring for the Broken Tooth

If your tooth breaks in the evening and you cannot be seen until the next morning, there are some things that you can do at home in order to manage your symptoms. If you feel a shard of tooth in your mouth, spit it out and save it in a small container with some of your saliva. It is possible that the dentist could bond the shard back onto your tooth. Next, rinse your mouth with salt water. To do this, mix 1/2 of a teaspoon of table salt into an eight-ounce glass of warm water. Gargle and spit out the water. You could do this once per hour. The salt water reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth and lowers your risk of getting an infection.

Try Over-the-counter Pain Remedies

Pain is often the most problematic part of a broken tooth. Your pain might be throbbing, a constant ache or a stabbing sensation that is triggered by eating, drinking or exposure to air. Some pain relief options to try include:

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (brand names such as Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (brand names such as Advil)
  • Naproxen sodium (brand names such as Aleve)
  • Oral numbing gel

Natural Remedies for Tooth Pain

After rinsing your mouth with salt water, you may apply a bead of dental wax if the tooth has an open center or a large break. Warm the dental wax between your fingertips. Press it onto the tooth. The wax will help to stop liquids or food particles from getting inside of the tooth. Some people find other natural remedies to be effective, too. Consider trying an ice pack applied to the cheek. Ice numbs the nerves that send pain signals to your brain. Clove oil applied with a cotton ball onto the tooth may also help.

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