What should you do if you chip, fracture, or break your teeth? It can happen to anybody, and it can be a frightening situation, as it tends to happen suddenly, resulting in a situation where your teeth become very sensitive and painful.

That is why, using information from the Australian Dental Association, we have compiled a guide that will provide you with background information regarding chipped, fractured or broken teeth, as well as give you an idea of how to respond in order to preserve your natural teeth.

How to respond to damaged teeth

Regardless of the situation, the best way to respond to chipped, fractured or broken teeth is to consult a dentist as soon as you can, as they will be able to best assess the extent of the damage and determine the best course of action going forward. To that end, Greenvale Dental Group offers emergency dentistry as one of their many dental services.

But, what do you do in the meantime? What steps can you take in order to preserve your teeth until you can consult your dentist?

Baby Teeth (a.k.a. Deciduous or Primary)

Babies and toddlers are prone to bumps, knocks and spills as they have just started crawling or walking. While this is an inevitable part of growing up, long lasting damage can occur if damage to teeth is left untreated. 

To preserve the tooth before you visit your dentist, do the following:

  • Find the tooth, and hold it only by the crown and not the root
  • Place the tooth in milk or saliva to transport to the dentist

Adult Teeth (a.k.a. Permanent or Secondary)

In the event that an adult tooth has been damaged, the best course of action is to remain calm and do the following:

  • Locate the tooth and pick it up via the crown (avoid touching the root)
  • If there is dirt on the tooth, rinse it briefly with either milk or (if that is unavailable) tap water (do not scrub or soak the tooth)
  • Insert the tooth back into its previous position in the mouth, ensuring that it is facing the right way by comparing it to the other teeth. Gently bite down on a clean piece of soft cloth to keep the tooth in place (you can also use aluminium foil or a mouthguard to keep the traumatised tooth in place. Book a dental appointment immediately.

    However, If you can’t get the tooth back in place, do not force it. Instead, place the tooth in a small amount of milk or saliva (not water). Book a dental appointment immediately.

Things to avoid

  • Don’t wrap the tooth in paper towel or serviette
  • Don’t hold the tooth by the root
  • Don’t scrub or rub the root surface
  • Don’t let the tooth dry out
  • Don’t store the tooth in water
  • Don’t delay seeking dental treatment. Ideally, you’d want to see them as soon as possible, but within 30 minutes or less is the ideal timeframe if you want to preserve your natural teeth

The causes of damaged teeth

There are many different ways that teeth can be damaged. The most common cause is a head-on collision that results in direct trauma to the affected tooth/teeth. This can cause teeth to be:

  • Moved from their original position (e.g. pushed backwards)
  • Cracked, chipped, fractured or broken
  • Loose/mobile
  • Pushed up into the gums and bone (to the point where the tooth may not even be visible

Other causes for damaged teeth include conditions such as teeth grinding, poorly maintained oral hygiene, diets with high concentrations of ingredients that degrade teeth such as citric acid or sugar, etc.

How to prevent damaged teeth

The key methods of preventing damage to teeth are to:

  • Avoid situations that could result in facial trauma by showing awareness of one’s surroundings
  • If participating in contact sports (e.g. rugby, AFL, hockey, boxing, etc.) wear a custom fitted mouthguard that will absorb the shock of any direct contact with your teeth
  • Maintain regular dental hygienic practices, such as brushing, flossing and consulting your doctor for routine dental health checkups
  • Ensure your diet has less sugar and citric acid, with more of an emphasis on bone-strengthening properties such as calcium and vitamin D

Where can I get high quality dentistry in the Northern Suburbs?

If you’re looking for a dentist in Greenvale, contact us and we will provide you with a modern, caring approach to your dental health.

Our Dental Practice specialises in various dental disciplines such as:

  • general dentistry
  • cosmetic dentistry
  • emergency dentistry
  • dental implants
  • crown and bridges
  • dentures
  • child dental care
  • teeth whitening

We are so renowned for our high-quality dental services, that we have patients visit our clinic from Greenvale and surrounding suburbs like Craigieburn, Tullamarine, Pascoe Vale, Airport West, Melbourne Airport, Mickleham, Oaklands Junction, Attwood, Roxburgh Park, Meadow Heights, Westmeadows, Campbellfield and Donnybrook.