What will a dentist do for a broken baby tooth?
This all depends on the extent of the damage to the tooth. Firstly, your dentist will need to assess the damage cause by the broken tooth. In some cases dental decay or disease has caused the breakage, and this will need to be treated before repair. In other cases a trauma has caused the tooth to break, like a fall or trip up the stairs. It is unfortunate, but it happens, despite everybody’s best effort. Remain calm and follow the proper precautions while you figure it out.
In a situation where a child has broken a tooth, the adult has to do everything in their power to keep them calm. This begins with the adult staying calm, taking a deep breath and focusing on the situation. Either get the child to spit everything in their mouth out, or if they are very young you may need to reach your fingers in and remove any pieces of broken material out of their mouth. Try to collect any pieces of tooth, as they may be required in repairing the tooth later.
What you do not want to do is allow the child to panic, and accidentally inhale or swallow a shard of broken tooth. These pieces can be sharp and tiny, and a small piece can become lodged in a way that impairs the respirations of the child. If you notice the child is having problems breathing, call 911. In the best case scenario, they will calm down and return to regular breathing.
After a trip to the Emergency Room, emergency dentist, or your regular dentists’s office, your child will require x-rays and comprehensive imaging to determine the extent of the damage to the tooth and jaw. It is important to ascertain what level of damage you are dealing with. If the damage is superficial, your dentist will advise on the best options for pain management and provide you with symptoms to monitor as the child awaits the emergence of their adult teeth. After all, baby teeth are just temporary teeth on the path to adolescence. If the damage is sustained, or leaves the patient very vulnerable, the dentist may opt to repair or replace the tooth.
Repair- The Dentist will use the materials of a filling to create a composite tooth with the remaining healthy tooth material. This may require the pieces of tooth you were able to retrieve earlier. The bonding agent the dentist applies will be moldable, and polished to remove any sharp edges.
Replace- A dental crown may be chosen to replace the tooth. A dental crown is a synthetic tooth that replaces the original, by bonding to the otherwise healthy root structure of the tooth.
In any and all cases, the child may be more susceptible to gum disease, infections, or dental abscess. This is as good a time as any to really reinforce the tenements of a strong dental hygiene routine; which includes brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and regular checkups with your dental professional.