We sometimes break or chip a tooth simply by biting down on something hard. Other times a tooth is knocked out during an accident or from a sports-related injury when a mouth guard is not worn. Choose a dentist to help based on whether the break is just a minor chip or a major emergency.
If you have a minor chip, you might think it looks bad but it's usually not a dental emergency. You can take an over-the-counter painkiller if you are feeling any discomfort, and then find a general dentist to evaluate the damage to your tooth. The dentist will advise you on whether it is better to smooth out the rough area or fill it with composite material.
If you have a major break or are in severe pain, you need to contact a general dentist immediately. If the break occurs after normal office hours look for a dentist who has emergency services available. In this case, do not take aspirin, especially if you are currently taking any blood thinners. You can rinse your mouth with warm water, use an ice pack to reduce swelling, and apply pressure to stop the bleeding while you wait to be seen by a dentist.
If your tooth is knocked out, try to retrieve it. Rinse it under running water, but do not scrub it. Hold the tooth by its crown, or top, and avoid touching the root. If you can, place it back in your mouth while you find a dentist to help. If you cannot replace the tooth, put it in a mild salt solution or milk to take it to your dentist's office. Don't let the tooth dry out as it can be damaged within a very short period of time.
Once you locate a dentist, he or she will assess the damage to your tooth and mouth, and determine if the tooth can be saved. If the tooth cannot be saved, you might need to find a cosmetic dentist to install a dental implant or mini-implant to serve as the anchor for a crown.
ChooseYourDentist.com is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. If you have a broken or chipped tooth, use our dental profiles to help find a family dentist or find a cosmetic dentist who can help because ChooseYourDentist.com is "where patients and dentists meet."