Cracked or Broken Molar?What Should You Do?
Your dentist can help you to get the best out of your smile. They can ensure that you love your teeth, both from an aesthetic and practical point of view. Our teeth play a large part in how we express ourselves. They make us more attractive to others, especially when we flash them a pearly white smile. They allow us to talk with clarity and purpose. Not to mention enabling us to enjoy all our favorite foods. Your dentist can even identify signs of a wide range of illnesses when they inspect your mouth, as many conditions show symptoms in the mouth that even your doctor may not be able to perceive.
Nonetheless, while it’s important to check in with your dentist regularly, sometimes we encounter dental emergencies when we’re far from their practice. There are lots of ways in which our teeth can incur damage- whether a tooth is lost of cracked in a sports accident or simply chipped on some cutlery or an uncooked corn kernel.
As in so many emergency situations, the steps you take early in the event of a broken tooth can make all the difference. Here we’ll look at what to do if you should find yourself with a cracked or broken molar (back tooth).
A cracked or broken tooth can not only be extremely painful, it can be a cause of great distress. When we encounter a trauma of any sort, we can react out of sheer instinct and throw logic to the wind, especially if we’re in physical pain.
Try and take a deep breath and remain as calm as possible. You will get through this and get smiling (and enjoying delicious food) again sooner rather than later. But it’s vital to take the right action now to save yourself further pain and give your damaged tooth the best possible chance.
Pick up the phone
While you can take action to mitigate the damage and discomfort caused by your broken molar (as we’ll discuss shortly) only your dentist can permanently fix a broken molar. Try and get an emergency appointment at your local practice. If your break occurs out of normal practice hours, use this directory to find out where you can get an emergency appointment.
If your pain is manageable, you may instead prefer to make an appointment with your regular dentist the next morning. After all, who else knows your teeth better. Nonetheless, you should still take the following steps to protect your tooth…
Clean up your mouth
Cracks and gaps in teeth can create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Over time this can cause the root of the tooth to become infected resulting in a potential abscess (a puss filled pocket) within the tooth. This is not only extremely painful but will require surgical intervention at a later date.
We need to make sure that no bacteria or particles of food left over from your last meal get into the crack in the tooth’s enamel outer layer.
Taking extra care, brush your teeth including the affected tooth. Once you have brushed, be sure to rinse your mouth out with either mouthwash or salt water.
Managing pain and swelling
It’s likely that a broken molar will be accompanied by s great deal of pain. Depending on the circumstances (e.g. head trauma or impact from a slip or fall) you may also have significant swelling of the gums and mouth. The more you can do to reduce this swelling the better. Your dentist will be better placed to help you if they don’t have to do battle with swollen gums.
Use a cold compress to bring down the swelling and numb the pain. You may also want to apply some clove oil to the tooth. This time honored natural remedy has been helping us to manage tooth pain since time immemorial.
If you should require further pain relief, over the counter medicines like ibuprofen are perfectly acceptable.
Attend to the crack / break
Now your mouth is nice and clean. But depending on when you can next get an appointment with your dentist, you may want to eat or drink before you can get a permanent fix. You need to seal up the crack or break in your tooth to tide you over until you can get some professional intervention.
There are a number of ways in which you can do this. The most effective is to apply a seal of dental wax over the broken tooth. Dental wax is extremely affordable and can work wonders in situations like this, so it’s always a worthy addition to your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. If you won’t be able to see your dentist for a couple of days, this is definitely the best option. If you only need to hold out for a couple of hours, however, chewing gum or gauze wedged into the tooth can work well to protect it.
Take care to prevent further damage
Until your dentist can get a good look at your damaged molar, it’s vital that you take care to prevent further damage. Avoid sweet and sticky foods, as well as anything too hot or cold. Needless to say, very hard foods should also be avoided. Do your best to chew with the molars on the unaffected side of your mouth. As an extra precaution, brush your teeth and wash out your mouth after eating anything.
If you have been known to grind your teeth while sleeping, this can cause further damage to your molars so be sure to sleep with a bit or guard in your mouth if you have one.
How we can help
As well as providing the full gamut of dental services, we can also provide emergency dental appointments to patients with cracked, broken or lost teeth. If you or a member of your family should find yourselves with a damaged molar, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.
We can empower you with an on-the-spot solution, as well as providing advice for future procedures where necessary.