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I Broke My Tooth

There are few dental emergencies more alarming than a broken or fractured tooth - the second you hear that crack, you'll know without a doubt what has happened. The good news is, there are as many ways of remedying the situation as there are of incurring it.

Broken teeth are not a rare occurrence - some polls have reported that nearly seventeen percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four have had the unfortunate experience of a physically damaged tooth. There are many ways in which teeth can become broken, the most common cause being damaged sustained directly to the mouth, such as in the case of being punched or injured while participating in contact sports. Falling can also bring about similar results, as can biting down on something hard and inedible. Outdated and ineffective fillings can contribute to a tooth becoming broken, as they are unable to perform the intended task of supporting the structure of the tooth from within. A tooth weakened in a similar manner by sufficiently severe tooth decay is also highly susceptible to becoming fractured, even under what would usually be considered normal circumstances.

Not all examples of broken teeth are created equal, and thus different cases will require different courses of action both on the part of the victim and his or her dentist. Some instances of broken teeth are merely cosmetic, such as in the example of hairline cracks penetrating the outermost layer of enamel only. When an individual has fractured the chewing surface or cusp of one or more teeth, they may experience an impeded ability to chew or speak but very little pain. A more deeply cracked tooth will necessitate more immediately urgent care - much more than a surface-level injury, a fully cracked tooth has the potential to upset the root enough to cause one to lose the tooth entirely unless addressed by a professional as soon as possible. In some cases, the fracture may occur while never showing through the outer surface of the tooth, causing unseen pain that appears to be without cause.

No matter the severity of the damage, action of some sort should be taken against it. Saving any pieces of tooth or tissue that have been jarred loose from their place in the mouth is a must, and they should be submerged in saline or some other type of preserving agent. In the case of a tooth cracked to the point of avulsion, there are several steps one must take promptly in order to save what has been lost; the victim is advised to rinse out his or her mouth with warm saltwater to sanitize the wound and apply pressure to the affected area with gauze or any other type of fabric they may have on hand to curb any bleeding that may ensue. Using a cold compress is recommended, as is covering any jagged edges or open sockets that remain until he or she is able to make it to the safety of his or her dentist's office.

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