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How Do You Tell If A Broken Tooth Is A Dental Emergency?

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People break teeth quite often. Sometimes, this is a problem you can wait and have addressed by your dentist a few days after the event. Other times, a broken tooth is more of an emergency—a reason to seek care from an emergency dentist, regardless of what time of day it is. How do you know the difference? Well, the following are signs when you should contact an emergency dentist about your broken tooth.

You're bleeding

Sometimes when a tooth breaks, you cause damage to the gums as well. Or, the tooth may break off in a way that leaves sharp edges, which result in injuries to the gums, tongue, or cheek. Usually, bleeding is an indication that a broken tooth is more on the serious side and should be looked at by an emergency dentist—if not for the tooth itself, then for the tissues that have been damaged by it.

You have a broken piece of the tooth

Do you have the piece of the tooth that broke off? If so, it is a good idea to seek dental care ASAP. Put the chipped-off part of the tooth in some milk, which will help protect and preserve it. Take it with you to the emergency dentist. They may be able to reattach the broken-off part of your tooth, but this can only be done when the break is relatively fresh. If you were to wait a day or two, your general dentist would be less likely to be able to attach the broken piece.

You're in a lot of pain

A tiny chip that does not extend all of the way through the enamel often won't cause much, if any, pain. But bigger chips that extend down into the dentin of the tooth can be quite painful. If your broken tooth or the jawbone around it hurts, head to the emergency dentist. They can make sure your dentin and sensitive tooth structures are not exposed. They can also cover the damaged tooth and give you pain relievers to keep you more comfortable. 

Not all chipped and broken teeth are an emergency. But if your tooth has sharp edges, you see bleeding, you're in pain, or you have a broken-off tooth chunk, your needs are pretty urgent. Call an emergency dentist, tell them what happened, and follow their advice when it comes to your dental care. They will likely want to see you soon.