A cracked or broken tooth can be miserable. Breakage in the tooth enamel can potentially expose the inner pulp of the teeth, striking the blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves. Ouch! If that area becomes infected or inflamed, double ouch!
In a best-case scenario, you get in to see your Utah dentist right away. But unfortunately, that isn’t always possible. If you cannot see a dentist right away, here are some tips on managing pain at home.
1. Try Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
Break out the Advil or Tylenol for some relief but stay away from the aspirin because it can slow blood clotting, which is a problem if a root canal is needed.
2. Floss After Meals
Be vigilant about removing food particles and plaque from the cracked or broken teeth and surrounding teeth. Be careful not to poke too aggressively at the affected tooth, as you might cause more damage. Always stay stocked up on floss!
3. Use Clove Oil
Clove oil is a natural anesthetic found in many health and wellness stores. This natural oil has been used to relieve tooth pain for centuries and remains an excellent option for relief. To apply the oil, dip a cotton ball in the oil, blot the cotton ball on a piece of tissue to remove excess, and hold the cotton ball on your painful tooth for about 10 seconds. Try not to swallow any of the oil
4. Try Over-the-Counter Dental Anesthetics
You can find many mild anesthetics at your local pharmacies, such as Orajel (benzocaine) or Anbesol (lidocaine). Another option is to seal the cracked tooth with a temporary over-the-counter filling material such as Dentemp.
5. Keep Head Elevated when Sleeping
We know it’s hard to follow instructions while you’re sleeping, but one way to reduce tooth pain when a crack is present is to keep your head elevated at night. Inflammation of the exposed nerve is painful and causes intense throbbing. Keeping your head elevated during the day and at night can help to ease pressure and reduce pain. It’s easy to keep your head elevated during the day. Night time is the tricky part.
6. Do a Salt Water Rinse
Whether you have a canker sore, a sore throat, or a cracked tooth, rinsing with warm salt water three times a day can help to remove bacteria and relieve pain. It’s one of the easiest ways to manage any mouth pain that may be occurring.
7. Use a Cold Compress
Using a cold compress on the outside of your cheek can prevent swelling and temporarily relieve some pain. The goal is to keep the swelling down and numb the area a bit.
Hopefully, you don’t have to endure the pain too long before getting into your dentist’s office. Your dentist will be able to assess your situation, assess the damage, and determine a plan of action to get your tooth fixed, and your pain relieved. The treatment will depend on:
- If it’s a baby or adult tooth
- What state of development the tooth is in
- The severity of the injury
The treatment may be very similar to a filling if you don’t have much pain associated with the damaged tooth. A more severe break may require a crown (tooth cap).
If your damaged tooth is painful, it will probably entail treatment of the dental pulp, which is the center of the tooth and extends to the tip of the tooth’s roots. The tooth pulp is essential during a tooth’s developmental stage, but a tooth can survive without it once it has reached maturity.
The treatment for dental pulp is a root canal or endodontic treatment. This should stop your tooth pain within a few days.
Preventing a Cracked Tooth
Some things happen no matter how much we do to prevent them. But there are some definite ways to reduce your chance of getting a cracked or broken tooth; if you have had one, you certainly don’t ever want one again. Here are some things to avoid:
- Biting down on hard foods and candies
- Biting down on hard, inedible objects such as pens and pencils
- Not taking care of old fillings or crowns
- Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw (wearing a mouth guard can help with this)
- Trauma to the facial/mouth area
A broken tooth is no fun, but it does happen. Make sure to call your dentist in the case of a damaged tooth. However, don’t forget about home remedies to relieve pain in the meantime.
Try an over-the-counter pain reliever, a rinse with warm salt water, or a temporary anesthetic gel. In addition to these remedies, it’s best to steer clear of liquids that are hot, cold, acidic, or sugary. Keep the chewing to a minimum on the affected side. Your treatment will depend on the severity of your situation. If you need a dentist in Weber County to fix your tooth, give us a call.