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How to Soothe a Cracked Tooth Before an Appointment

A traumatic accident may cause a cracked or broken tooth, and these kinds of things often seem to happen at the worst possible time, usually when your dentist’s office is closed. If you find yourself in that kind of situation, there are steps you can take to protect the tooth and ease the pain until you can get in to see your dentist for expert care.

A man grips his left jaw in pain.

Emergency first steps

If you have a cracked or broken tooth, that may mean that the dentin – the inner layer of the tooth under the enamel – may be exposed, making the tooth sensitive to pain and hot or cold temperatures, and also creating the risk of infection.

To protect the damaged tooth, take the following steps:

  • Collect any broken pieces to help you, the dentist, determine if it’s enamel or an old filling that has fallen out.
  • If there’s bleeding, gently bite down on clean gauze or a tea bag to help stop the bleeding.
  • Call your dentist’s office to schedule an appointment. If it’s after hours, leave a message with your contact phone number.
  • At your pharmacy, buy an OTC dental cement – like Dentemp – to protect the tooth until your appointment.
  • Use OTC medication to ease the pain, but avoid aspirin which slows blood clotting.
  • Use an ice pack to control swelling.
  • Rinse with warm salt water two to three times a day to remove bacteria from the affected area.

Things you should not do when you have cracked teeth

While you’re caring for your cracked or broken tooth, there are also things you should avoid, including staying away from

  • Sugary drinks and foods that might irritate the exposed area of the tooth.
  • Very cold or hot foods or drinks that could cause pain.
  • Acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus fruit can be irritating.
  • Hard candy, nuts, or other foods that might further damage the tooth.

In the dental office

Once you arrive for your appointment, your dentist will examine the affected tooth and recommend the best ways to relieve pain. Depending on the situation and the extent of the damage to the tooth, you may need reconstructive dentistry, a crown, or a root canal and a crown. While these procedures can be painful with an already cracked tooth, your dentist can give you a local anesthetic to ease your tooth pain.

Any loose fillings may need to be replaced. If the tooth is broken off at the root, it may need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant to restore its normal function


Dental Emergencies and Tooth Care Services in Highland Park, IL

Whatever your dental needs may be, from general dentistry to digital x-rays or oral cancer screening, we can provide the very best care at North Suburban Dental. At North Suburban Dental we believe in honesty and community, and we believe our patients are our best ambassadors.

If you’re looking for expert dental services along the north shore, including emergency dental care with state-of-the-art oral health equipment, contact us at one of our three clinics to schedule your appointment. Please know that we look forward to serving you at North Suburban Dental!

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