S.O.S. - Chipped tooth

Have you ever sat in the cinema and wanted to snack on the last unpopped crumbs from your popcorn bag when it went "crunch"? Did a pebble ever come dangerously close to your teeth, even though you had washed the salad well? Or have you ever bumped into your microphone while performing on stage in front of a few thousand fans? That has actually happened to a few singers. Such mishaps happen to stars too. But what do you do if a piece of your tooth breaks off?



Broken tooth - What to do?


It happens faster than you would like. Who has never had a (small) piece of a tooth break off? What initially causes a big fuss is usually half as bad. If you still have the piece, it may be possible to reattach it. If you no longer have it, there are numerous methods to replace the missing piece.
Depending on how much of the tooth has broken off, it is important to seek help quickly. The best thing to do is to contact your dentist or your practice - or, in case of acute pain, an emergency dental service! An appointment is not necessary. However, if only a small corner of the enamel is missing, it is not an emergency. Nevertheless, your dentist should take a look and decide what to do. If the piece is very small, it may be enough to just smooth the incisal edge with polishers. However, if more substance is missing, then this can be replaced with a plastic filling or the existing piece of tooth can possibly be glued back on.



Knocked out tooth - Tips & Tricks

It can also happen that you knock out the tooth completely with the root (so-called avulsion). This is extremely rare, but if it happens, a correct and quick procedure can decide about the preservation of your tooth. 


First Step: Search for tooth or tooth fragment


If the object of desire is found again, make sure that only the crown of the tooth is touched - the root surface should not be touched! In this situation, do not try to clean or disinfect the tooth or remove any dirt particles. The most important thing now is that the root surface does not dry out! A tooth rescue box is suitable for this purpose.



Off into a tooth rescue box 


If the tooth is completely knocked out, including the root, it is advisable to use a tooth rescue box. The tooth can be optimally stored and transported in this box. If you want to always be prepared, you have such a box in your medicine cabinet for emergencies; if you have never heard of it, you can quickly get one at the pharmacy or dentist's office.
This tooth rescue box is a transport medium for knocked-out teeth and tooth fragments, containing a ready-to-use nutrient solution that enables the survival of tooth-specific cells and increases the chances of successful replantation. The tooth can be stored in a tooth rescue box for up to 48h! 



Isotonic saline solutions and UHT milk


If there is no tooth rescue box at hand and no pharmacy or dentist's office in sight, isotonic saline solutions or UHT milk can help. It sounds crazy, and it's not a perfect substitute, but it's better than nothing. Since the tooth should not dry out under any circumstances, it can also be stored in saliva (collected in a container) or plastic foil, should milk and saline solution not be available either. However, the duration of storage is considerably shorter compared to the tooth rescue box. You should therefore consult a dentist without any major detours. Absolutely unsuitable for storage are water, moist handkerchiefs or the oral cavity! (Bacteria & danger of swallowing!)



Immediately to the emergency dentist


If the accident occurs during typical dentist opening hours, you should make your way there. If this is not the case, an emergency dental service will help you. You can easily find out where they are in your area online.
Give the doctor all the necessary information for a replantation or filling, such as whether you are in pain or where your teeth are damaged.



Let the professional do it!


Do not attempt to replant or repair the broken or completely knocked out tooth yourself. This can destroy the fine root fibres, which reduces the chance of successful replantation. Besides, it would hurt like hell!



You broke off a piece of your tooth? - The treatment


The chances of a full recovery are extremely good if only a small part of one or more teeth has broken off and the tooth nerve has not been damaged. However, if the nerve has been damaged, you can often tell by the fact that it is bleeding out of the tooth - and action must be taken quickly! Due to the multitude of bacteria in our oral cavity, the nerve can otherwise become irreversibly inflamed by prolonged exposure and make root canal treatment necessary.



Glue on fragment


However, if "only" a piece of the incisor or molar tooth has broken off, these tooth fragments can be reattached under certain circumstances. This aesthetic correction is made possible by a special bonding technique in which your dentist fixes the fragment to the fracture site using plastic adhesive and cures it with a polymerisation lamp - that's the all-too-familiar blue light.



When the tooth can no longer be glued on 


Don't worry, there are also solutions if the broken piece is either no longer present or can no longer be glued. In this case, a plastic filling is usually used to restore the missing corner. Dental plastics are now so good that a very aesthetic result can usually be achieved. 
Partial crowns or even complete crowns can be used for more extensive damage. In the visible area, ceramics are often used to achieve the most natural appearance possible.
If the damage is so severe that the tooth cannot be preserved, it can of course also be replaced by a bridge or an implant. Today, no one has to live with a tooth gap any more!



How much does a chipped tooth cost?


The extent of the fracture and the chosen treatment determine the amount of the costs, which are covered individually by the health insurance companies. Dental prostheses are usually supported by a fixed allowance based on the findings and the difference is paid by the patient - if there is no supplementary dental insurance!
You wonder whether the accident insurance might apply? If the tooth loss or fracture is the result of an accident, extensive documentation should be done by the dentist and reported to the accident insurance fund. It is important that the liability insurance of the person who caused the accident is also included. Especially a detailed documentation of the findings at the beginning can often save high costs afterwards. Often, late or consequential damages can be covered afterwards. However, the statutory accident insurance only covers dental damage if it was reported and resulted from an unexpected injury. The criteria are usually checked individually by the accident insurance.



Fun Facts:

  • Most dental accidents happen during physical exercise or at home,
  • Children suffer by far the most dental injuries (2/3)
  • Incisors are most frequently affected, closely followed by molars.


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