Is a Chipped Tooth a Dental Emergency?

August 16, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — firstcoastsmiles @ 4:00 pm

Model of a chipped toothYour enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it isn’t indestructible. Since the beginning of the pandemic, dentists have seen a 63% increase in chipped teeth. The damage can be caused by several factors, like stress-related oral health conditions, such as bruxism. Not to mention, many people have skipped routine appointments, causing dental issues to go undetected until they turn into a bigger problem. Of course, trauma to the mouth also contributes to chipped teeth. If you suddenly find yourself with a chipped tooth, do you know what to do? Even if it doesn’t seem significant, you need to visit an emergency dentist.

Why Do I Need to See an Emergency Dentist?

A chipped tooth doesn’t always hurt, so you might believe it isn’t a dental emergency in Jacksonville. Instead, it appears to only be an aesthetic issue that can be treated at a later date. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the survival of your tooth may rely on prompt dental care. Less serious damage can often wait a day or two for treatment, but it’s best not to put it off for too long. Your tooth will be vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria and its structure may be weakened. If you don’t see a dentist quickly, a minor problem can turn into a serious complication. In fact, you might even lose your tooth.

When is a Same-Day Appointment Necessary?

No one has time for an unplanned trip to the dentist, but if your tooth is cracked or fractured to the point you can see the inner layers, you need an appointment immediately. The same is true if you are in significant pain or the piece hasn’t fully broken off the tooth. If the chip is minor, you can wait a couple of days until there’s an opening in your schedule to see your dentist.

What Do I Do for a Chipped Tooth?

You can help preserve your tooth until your appointment by following a few tips at home, such as:

  • Carefully rinse your mouth with warm salt and water to remove debris. It will also disinfect the tooth and reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the face if there’s any swelling.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage your discomfort, but never apply it directly to your tooth.
  • Avoid chewing with your tooth until after it has been repaired.
  • Step up your oral hygiene to keep your mouth as clean as possible.

Your dentist will assess your tooth to create a personalized plan, which often includes dental bonding or a crown. They’ll do everything they can to restore your tooth back to its original state.

About Dr. James L. Schumacher

Dr. Schumacher has over 40 years of experience in dentistry. Throughout his career, he has regularly continued his training at many prestigious institutes, including L.D. Pankey. He is an award-winning dentist in Jacksonville who is committed to excellence. If you have a dental emergency, don’t wait. Contact our office today for an appointment.

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