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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults


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Rewinding the Years: Dental Care Tips for Older Adults

Once my children were grown and on their own, I decided it was time to care of me. One of the first things I did was make an appointment with the dentist. I quickly discovered that years of not keeping up with my own dental care had taken a heavy toll on my teeth. Whereas I thought my teeth were just fine, the dentist pointed out several problems that were going to require a lot of work. When talking to friends, I found out that many of them were in the same boat. This blog is for people like me who just did not have time to keep up with their own dental care.

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Health Hazards And Treatments For A Broken Tooth

Even if your broken tooth is not painful, it should be treated. A broken tooth is one of the most common reasons people seek out emergency dentistry services. Early intervention is necessary to avoid complications associated with cracked or broken teeth. Even though teeth are strong, they can break as a result of biting down on hard foods, bone disorders, or as a result of certain medications that can impair calcium and other nutrient absorption. Here are some potential health hazards you may encounter if you have a broken tooth and what you can do about them.

Pain And Infection Risk

When your tooth breaks, you may not notice any pain, however, the sharp edges of the tooth may lacerate your cheek or tongue. Because the tongue is very vascular, you may experience profuse bleeding that won't stop.

If this happens, you'll need to seek emergency dental care to stop the bleeding. If the break in your tooth is near a nerve, you might develop severe pain or tooth sensitivity. In addition, when the dental enamel is compromised, bacteria can enter your tooth, raising the risk for an abscess. If not recognized and properly treated, the infection can spread to your sinuses or throat, and may even lead to a systemic infection. 

Treatment

Your dentist will recommend a treatment plan based on the size and type of break. Small tooth chips are often repaired with a dental material known as composite. Cracked teeth or large chips may require a root canal or a crown, depending upon the extent of the damage.

If a large part of your tooth is missing, or if your tooth is crumbling, you may need an extraction. If you have drainage leaking from the gum tissue surrounding your broken tooth, or if you have severe pain, gum inflammation, or a bad taste in your mouth, you probably have a bacterial infection. Your dentist will prescribe oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection so that it does not spread to other parts of your body.

If you have a broken or cracked tooth, make an appointment with your dentist. If you fail to seek treatment early on, you may sustain a severe oral injury or develop a serious dental infection. Untreated broken teeth may also cause a malocclusion, or abnormal bite, which may make it hard for you to chew. It may also cause your other teeth to shift out of place.