When talking about broken teeth, most people picture a complete break. However, teeth sometimes crack without coming apart, and those teeth can often be saved. Of course, you may also experience some level of pain, especially when chewing or biting. The pain will usually come and go instead of being continuous, but it's still something you'll want to deal with.
Here are just four ways to alleviate the pain associated with a cracked tooth.
1. Wash Out Your Mouth
One thing that's going to make a cracked tooth more painful is having debris get into the crack, especially if that crack extends below the gumline. Not only can the root and inner tooth be aggravated, but infections can occur that cause intense pain and reduce the chance of the tooth being saved. Save yourself the pain by gently rinsing your mouth with plain warm water or saline water. Remember not to swish it around too hard since doing so can lead to further irritation.
2. Reduce the Swelling
If your tooth is cracked below the gum line, you're more likely to experience swelling around the affected area. This will put more pressure on the tooth itself and generally increase the amount of pain you need to suffer through. Luckily enough, you can reduce or avoid swelling by using a cold compress on the outside of the appropriate cheek and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory.
3. Avoid Hot or Cold Drinks
You probably won't want to eat anything until you get your cracked tooth looked at by a dentist, but you might need to at least keep yourself hydrated, especially if your mouth is drying out around the hurt area. That's fine, but avoid hot or cold beverages. The dentin layer of your tooth that lies under the hard outer enamel is more sensitive to extreme temperatures, so even those who don't suffer from oral sensitivity can find drinking hot or cold beverages painful. You should also avoid anything acidic or high in sugar since such beverages can irritate the nerve.
4. Bite Down on Gauze
While you're waiting to see your dentist, biting down on a small piece of gauze is a good way to manage the pain. Biting down slightly applies enough pressure to keep the crack from widening but not enough to cause any pain or damage. Gauze can also help to absorb any blood that might leak out from under the gum line.