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Broken Wisdom Tooth: What Steps Should You Take?

Cracked a wisdom tooth? Don't panic. This comprehensive guide details steps to take, covering everything from first-aid to potential treatments.

Last updated on

December 14, 2023

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Broken Wisdom Tooth: What Steps Should You Take?

As dental adventures go, breaking a wisdom tooth is less of a leisurely stroll through the park and more of a rocky uphill climb. It's unexpected and uncomfortable, and the view from the top isn't particularly rewarding. 

That said, it's a climb many of us make, so it's essential to know the right steps to take. Buckle up, trailblazers, as we dive into the journey that is dealing with a broken wisdom tooth.

What Does a Broken Wisdom Tooth Mean?

Wisdom teeth are the late bloomers of the dental family and always find ways to make themselves noticed. They're the last teeth to come in, typically erupting when we’re between the ages of 17 to 25. By this time, we're often all out of "dental real estate," leading to a myriad of issues, one of which is the potential for a tooth to break.

When we say a tooth is broken, we're generally referring to a situation where a part of the tooth's structure is fractured or cracked. This could be due to a variety of reasons. Perhaps you bit down on something unexpectedly hard (those popcorn kernels can be sneaky little devils), or maybe you suffered a blow to the face during an intense pickup basketball game. Whatever the cause, the result is a damaged tooth that needs attention pronto.

What Are the Symptoms of a Broken Wisdom Tooth?

You might be wondering: "But how do I know if I've broken a wisdom tooth?" While it's always best to let a professional make the final call, there are some telltale signs you can look out for.

One common symptom is pain or discomfort around the affected tooth. This might be a persistent ache or pain that flares up when you're eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet. You might also experience swelling in the gum around the broken tooth or find that it's become extra sensitive to the touch.

Sometimes, the break can lead to sharp edges that irritate your cheek, tongue, or gums, leading to sores or cuts. Let's not forget the possible difficulty you might face while eating, particularly if the break is substantial. Finally, if an infection sets in due to the break, you might also have bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth.

When these symptoms occur, seek dental attention without delay. Postponing your visit to the dentist won’t earn you any bravery points and could lead to further complications. Remember, when it comes to dental health, it's always better to be safe than sorry!

What Immediate Actions Should You Take After Breaking a Wisdom Tooth?

When the unsolicited adventure of a broken wisdom tooth comes knocking on your door, the first thing to remember is not to panic. The good news is there are immediate steps you can take to ease discomfort and prevent further damage.

Firstly, if you can find the broken piece of your tooth, rinse it gently under warm water and preserve it in a small container with milk or a tooth preservation product. Your dentist might be able to reattach it, depending on the break's severity.

Rinse your mouth gently with warm salt water to help clean the area and soothe your gums. Be careful not to swish too aggressively, which might cause additional damage or discomfort.

Applying a cold pack to your cheek can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be your best friend in this situation but always follow the package instructions.

If the broken tooth has sharp edges, covering it with a piece of sugar-free gum or dental wax can prevent it from cutting your cheeks or tongue.

How Can a Dentist Diagnose a Broken Wisdom Tooth?

Once you've taken immediate steps to mitigate the issue, it's time to enlist professional help. Your dentist will start with a visual examination of your tooth and might also gently probe the area with dental instruments to identify the size and severity of the break. This can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it's essential for an accurate diagnosis.

Beyond this initial examination, dental X-rays are a go-to tool in the dentist’s diagnostic arsenal. They provide a detailed view of your teeth, revealing the depth and exact location of the break. Additionally, they can expose any hidden issues, such as damage to the jawbone or nerves.

Your dentist may also use a special dye or ask you to bite down on a piece of specially designed paper to better understand the break. The full diagnostic process is thorough and comprehensive, designed to map the best course of action for your unique situation.

What Are the Potential Treatments for a Broken Wisdom Tooth?

When it comes to treatment, the plan will largely depend on the break's severity. For minor breaks, your dentist might simply smooth the tooth or fill it with resin. In other cases, where the damage extends to the tooth's pulp, a root canal might be necessary.

Sometimes, if the tooth is severely damaged or impacted, extraction might be the best course of action. While the thought of having a tooth pulled can be intimidating, modern dentistry offers plenty of sedation options to keep you comfortable.

Now, here's where dental insurance comes into play. Most plans will cover a portion of the costs for these treatments, but it depends on your individual policy. Check in with your provider to get a better understanding of what's covered and what's not. Your oral health is a journey, and it's always wise to have a roadmap of your coverage.

How Can You Prevent Future Wisdom Teeth Issues?

Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. So, let's delve a little deeper into some proactive measures to keep your pearly whites in their prime and ward off any future wisdom teeth shenanigans.

A consistent and robust oral hygiene routine is your primary defense. This routine isn't just about brushing twice a day. It’s also about the quality of your brushing — spending at least two minutes each time and using a good toothbrush is critical. Flossing daily is a must, too; it reaches those hidden nooks and crannies that your toothbrush might miss.

Rinse your mouth with antimicrobial mouthwash for that finishing touch, wiping out any lingering bacteria and leaving your mouth fresh and clean.

Regular dental check-ups, ideally every six months, are as essential as your hygiene routine. These visits allow your dentist to monitor your oral health, possibly spotting issues you may not be aware of. Remember, wisdom teeth can be sneaky and grow unnoticed, so regular X-rays are often necessary to keep track of their development.

Nutrition plays a big role too. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals fortifies your dental health. Foods high in calcium and vitamin D, such as dairy products and fatty fish, can strengthen your teeth, while crunchy fruits and vegetables serve a dual purpose — they're healthy, and they act like natural toothbrushes!

How Can Flossy Assist With a Broken Wisdom Tooth?

If you're seeking a knight in shining armor for your broken wisdom tooth, meet Flossy. Flossy offers a range of services that can come to your rescue when dealing with dental woes like a broken wisdom tooth.

With Flossy, you have access to top-notch dental professionals who can evaluate your situation and provide a suitable treatment plan. The best part? Flossy operates on a pay-as-you-go model, allowing you to manage your dental health costs without breaking the bank.

It's like having a personal dental health advocate in your pocket, ready to leap into action when you need it most.

Why Is Timely Intervention Crucial for a Broken Wisdom Tooth?

Now, let's circle back to why timely intervention is non-negotiable when it comes to a broken wisdom tooth.

Ignoring a broken wisdom tooth isn't just a matter of toughing out the discomfort; it's playing a risky game with your health. If left untreated, the break can act as a gateway for bacteria, leading to infections that, in severe cases, could spread to the bloodstream and have systemic effects.

Bear in mind that oral health isn't just about dazzling smiles and fresh breath — it's deeply intertwined with your overall health. A wide variety of severe health conditions have been linked to oral health problems. So, caring for a broken wisdom tooth isn't just a cosmetic concern; it's a vital part of preserving your overall well-being.

Use Flossy To Help With Your Broken Wisdom Tooth

Navigating the world of broken wisdom teeth doesn't have to be a daunting journey. With Flossy at your side, you have a reliable companion to guide you through this unexpected dental detour.

Flossy not only helps manage your dental health, but it also empowers you to take control of your oral care journey. Why not make the smart choice today and put your dental health first?

Head over to your app store and download the Flossy app today. Your future self with an intact set of pearly whites will thank you!

Sources:

Wisdom Teeth | Better Health Channel

Fractured Tooth (Cracked Tooth): What It Is, Symptoms & Repair | Cleveland Clinic

Radiographic Examination before Dental Extraction from Dentists' Perspective | PMC

How Does Dental Insurance Work? | Investopedia

How Often Should We Go to the Dentist? | PMC

Nutrition and Oral Health | American Dental Association

Why Oral Hygiene Is Crucial to Your Overall Health | The New York Times

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