What happens if you leave a broken tooth?

A collision during sports or a fall from a bicycle – it is not uncommon for a tooth to be broken or knocked out when this happens. This mainly happens to children and younger people, but occasionally also to adults. The upper incisors are the teeth that are the most commonly affected by trauma and accident. However, accidents are not the only way that your teeth can break. Teeth can also become worn and brittle through use, age, malocclusion, or other oral and dental issues.

There are many risks associated with leaving a broken tooth in your mouth, including inflammation, infection or abscess, discoloration, and increased sensitivity. If you have a broken tooth, it is advisable not to wait to have it looked at by your dentist.

What to do if you have a tooth break

The important thing is to stay calm, look for the broken piece(s) of tooth, store them correctly, and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Teeth that are exposed in the oral cavity must also be protected on your way to the dentist. If you have any part of your tooth remaining in your mouth, only touch the affected tooth by the tooth crown (the part you see in your mouth) and never by the sensitive tooth root! If your whole tooth comes out, it is important not to touch your mouth or the knocked- out tooth too much, as this can lead to infection. If your notice you have a tooth that is very loose in your jaw after an accident, use caution not to accidentally swallow it and get to your dentist as soon as you can.

Once you have collected any pieces of broken tooth, you must try and store them correctly. Teeth that have been knocked out must be kept moist and cool so that they do not dry out during transport to the dentist - otherwise they cannot be used again. Ideally, a so-called tooth rescue box should be used.

These are available at most big-box stores or online. A tooth can be kept germ-free and moist in one of these kits for 24 to 48 hours. It is not a good idea to "store" the knocked out / broken tooth in the oral cavity until you get to the dentist - because of the germs in the mouth and the risk of swallowing! Another emergency solution is to put the tooth or tooth pieces in milk, saline solution, or saliva. Teeth can be kept in milk for 1 to 2 hours. Other alternatives to milk are saliva collected in a vessel (which will keep the tooth 15 to 30 minutes). Use tap water only as a last resort.

When you arrive at the dentist, they will do a complete examination of the oral cavity, which could possibly involve X-rays or other imaging. Then, depending on the injury, they will recommend a treatment that may involve the reinsertion or filling of the tooth, adding veneers, a bridge, or even an implant upon which a new prosthetic tooth will sit.

Why did a piece of my tooth break off