Chipped Tooth With Blood Showing

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When you understand HOW and WHY things happen, your actions for treatment and prevention are vastly improved.

If you just want to know WHAT ACTIONS TO TAKE, scroll down.

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Emergencies - Potential causesAccidents happen to teeth, especially with children. Chipped or fractured teeth may occur due to

  • Impact directly to the tooth as in a fall, sports injury, or hard object in the food
  • A weakness or defect in the tooth
  • On back teeth it may be due to large fillings (silver fillings actually expand over time and can cause a piece of tooth to break away.
  • Poor alignment of the bite causing stressful impact between upper and lower teeth

Emergencies - Symptoms

These may also apply if the chip is very deep into the tooth, even if you’re not quite sure whether you see blood or not.

  • An obvious missing piece of tooth
  • Blood or pink area visible inside the tooth (this is the pulp or nerve tissue of the tooth)
  • Sharp edges on tooth that may cut the lips, cheek or tongue
  • Severe pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to air or cold or sweet
  • Throbbing

Emergencies - Relieve pain

Often there is severe or extreme pain when the pulp or nerve tissue is exposed. Here are things you can try before you get to the dentist. NOTE that topical numbing agents do not usually have any effect for this type of pain.

  • Put a layer of petroleum jelly (e.g. Vaseline) to cover up the area pores.
  • If you have pliable orthodontic wax on hand, this may also be used to cover the inner part of the tooth
  • Some people get relief from warm salt water on a piece of gauze put directly over the tooth (half teaspoon salt dissolved in one cup warm water). You may want to use no more than body-temperature water to avoid adding heat which can increase pain.

If the tooth is sharp and cutting the surrounding tissues

  • Use pliable wax such as orthodontic wax to cover the sharp part of the tooth

If there is generalized pain or throbbing from the injury

  • Give over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medicines, but NOT ASPIRIN. Typically acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used. These are to be swallowed only and not put directly on the tooth.

NEVER under any circumstances put pain medicine directly on the tooth, especially NO ASPIRIN.

Emergencies - What to do

DO NOT PANIC. Your child’s state of mind depends on you being a cool, calm, and collected parent.

Call your dentist right away. Exposure of the pulp of the tooth requires special care. The pulp or nerve tissue is what remains of the tissue that formed the tooth in the first place. If your child is young and still needs this tissue to be kept alive to finish forming the rest of the roots of the tooth, then dental care is needed right away.

Follow the suggestions to relieve pain above, but DO NOT IGNORE THIS SITUATION OR TRY TO TREAT IT ON YOUR OWN. Get to your dentist as soon as possible.

An emergency room or urgent care might be an alternative to relieve pain, but they are not equipped to treat this type of dental injury. If at all possible, get your child treated by a dentist.

Back to the List of Emergencies Page

NOTE: Any recommendations given can only be construed as general information. It is impossible for me to know your specific circumstances. I am not your family’s personal dentist. This material should NOT be used to diagnose the presence or absence of any particular ailment. This information is not intended to be a substitute for the services of a locally qualified dental health care professional. Any application of the material found on this website is at the reader’s discretion and is her or his sole responsibility. If there is any question, contact your dentist or other qualified dental health care professional.
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