It’s nighttime, and there’s nothing left to do but sit back, relax, and enjoy the internet’s endless stream of entertainment. You’re even munching on some microwave popcorn, but all of a sudden, you accidentally bite down really hard onto an un-popped kernel. Everything feels normal when you go to bed, but the next morning, you have a toothache, and your tooth is really sensitive whenever you take a sip of coffee or water. These are both distinct signs of a cracked tooth, and to prevent the problem (and pain) from becoming worse, it’s wise to take action right away. What should you do? Just follow these steps from an emergency dentist…
Step 1: Panic
Actual Step 1: Call Your Dentist
The only way to know if your tooth is actually cracked is to go see your dentist, and this is also the fastest way to get treatment as well. Most dentists are happy to schedule same-day appointments for people dealing with this kind of problem.
After giving you an exam, if your dentist determines that yes, you have a cracked tooth, they will likely refer you to an endodontist. Endodontists are dental specialists who are able to diagnose and treat problems involving the inside of a tooth. When a tooth is cracked, the internal nerve is exposed to bacteria, which can lead to an infection that can potentially kill the tooth if left alone. An endodontist can stop this from happening while also relieving any pain.
Step 2: Take an OTC Medicine
Your dentist will likely give you something for immediate pain relief, but if you can’t wait for your appointment, taking an OTC medication like ibuprofen can provide a stop-gap. You might see advice online that recommends placing an aspirin directly on the gums next to a hurting tooth, but don’t do this, as it can actually cause a chemical burn.
Step 3: Use a Cold Compress
If you’re experiencing a constant, throbbing pain, applying a cold compress to your cheek can help take the edge off. Use a bag of ice or even a package of frozen vegetables. Just be sure to only use the compress in 10-minute intervals so you don’t accidentally damage your skin.
Step 4: Don’t Chew with That Part of Your Mouth
Chewing with a cracked tooth cannot only be uncomfortable, but it may even make the crack worse! If you plan on eating before seeing your dentist, be sure to avoid your problem tooth.
Step 5: Actually Go See Your Dentist
A cracked tooth can actually stop hurting temporarily depending on the damage to the enamel and inner nerve, but even if the problem seems to have “magically” gone away, make sure you still go see your dentist. Otherwise, the pain will likely come back and be more severe.
Needless to say, a cracked tooth is never pleasant, but by going to see your dentist quickly and visiting an endodontist, you can both save the tooth and get the fast relief you desire. After endodontic treatment, you’ll forget your tooth was ever cracked in the first place!
About the Author
Dr. Gregory Gell is a certified endodontist and emergency dentist with over 20 years of experience helping people deal with cracked teeth and get out of pain as quickly as possible. If any of the symptoms touched on above sound familiar, you can actually call his practice directly to schedule an appointment. This will save you the time and expense of seeing a dentist and getting a referral! To schedule an emergency visit, call (704)784-4625.