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 you, 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, we sometimes encounter dental emergencies when we’re far from their practice. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which our teeth can incur damage- whether a tooth is lost or cracked in a sports accident or chipped on some cutlery or an uncooked corn kernel.
From root canal therapy to tooth extraction, there are many potential treatment options for a cracked tooth or a split tooth. The critical thing to remember is that getting to an emergency room or your dentist as soon as possible is the first step to treat your cracked molar.
As in so many emergencies, 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).
Remember that nothing will replace the necessity to see your dentist as soon as possible. But, unfortunately, no one will have advice and tips, along with the necessary tools to get your tooth back to good health like a medical professional.
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 cracked molar (as we’ll discuss shortly), only your dentist can permanently fix your split tooth. Try and get an emergency appointment at your local practice.
If your break occurs out of regular practice hours, use this directory to find information about 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 following day. 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 tooth’s root to become infected, resulting in a potential abscess (a pus-filled pocket) within the cracked tooth. An abscess is extremely painful but will require surgical intervention later, such as a root canal or crown. Dentists are experts at coming up with a treatment plan to minimize tissue damage and keep your health in check.
You will need to make sure that no bacteria or particles of food that are leftover from your last meal get into the crack in the tooth’s enamel outer layer or a root fracture or something else that you may not be able to see.
Taking extra care, brush your teeth, including the affected cracked tooth. Once you have brushed, be sure to rinse your mouth out with either mouthwash or saltwater. Flossing is also an essential step in case of a piece of food being left in the gum line.
Managing pain and swelling
A great deal of pain will likely accompany a broken molar. 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 battle with a swollen gum line.
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 medication like ibuprofen is perfectly acceptable. None of this will take the place of a medical professional. Still, your dentist may recommend an ice pack and ibuprofen before your appointment to bring down any swelling issues so that they don’t have problems seeing the extent of the cracked molar or broken tooth during your visit.
Attend to the crack or break
Now your tooth is nice and clean. But depending on when you can get an appointment with your dentist, you may want to eat or drink before receiving 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 several 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 highly 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 see your dentist for a couple of days, this is one of the best products you can have lying around. 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 cracked molar, you must take care to prevent further problems that may affect your health. For example, a cracked molar is at severe risk of fracturing further if you bite on it or touch it. This needs to be avoided for the short term and indefinitely into the future, as any further damages will make it harder for your dentist to get things back to normal.
Avoid sweet and sticky foods, as well as anything too hot or cold. This means no hard candy or ice cream until you can have the issue medically reviewed! Likewise, it would be best if you took care to avoid any tough foods.
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 night guard in your mouth if you have one.
All of these are steps to take before you see a dentist and start a treatment plan, but none are replacements for a dentist certified by the American Dental Association.
How we can help
As well as providing the full gamut of dental services, we can also offer emergency dental appointments to patients with a cracked molar or any other broken tooth.
If you or a member of your family should find yourselves with a broken tooth that requires being medically reviewed, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. Our dentist is here for you when you are experiencing tooth damage or tooth pain of any sort!
We can empower you with an on-the-spot solution and provide advice for future procedures where necessary.