About Your Teeth What should I do if I injure my teeth over the holidays?

Q & A's

What should I do if I injure my teeth over the holidays?


Dental injuries happen all of the time, but each year there is an observable spike in incidences of tooth and mouth injuries during the holiday season.

Most cases occur in young people under the age of 15 and more commonly boys, with the leading causes being sports related injuries, vehicles accidents and assaults.

Violent attacks and falls are the most prevalent causes of oral trauma among 16 to 20 year olds. While violence and vehicle accidents are more likely to result in serious multiple tooth injuries, sports and falls generally involve single tooth trauma.

If you have large fillings you should be careful of biting hard, solid objects like hard lollies (or the elusive coin in the Christmas pudding!). Any restored tooth is weaker than an unfilled tooth and may break. Young children are also prone to mouth injuries through tripping or being pushed with objects in their mouths.

While most incidences are not critical, after any trauma to the tooth or mouth it is necessary to see your dentist immediately to have them assess the damage.

However, given that many of us head out of town during the holiday season, quick and easy access to our usual dentist may not be possible. Here are some suggestions that may help to save your teeth until you are able to seek a professional dental assessment:

Chipped, Broken or Fractured Teeth

Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use a cold pack on the area to keep any swelling down. Call a dentist immediately and if possible save the broken fragment and take it along to the dentist. Depending on the completeness of the broken fragment it may be possible to re-bond the fractured element back onto the tooth or to replace the missing part using a tooth-coloured composite. A root canal treatment and protective restoration may be required if the teeth are vertically fractured beneath the gum line. If the break is significant you may lose the tooth and may need to consider a dental implant.

While minor chips, breaks or fractures do not need immediate dental care, treatment is necessary to prevent sharp teeth edges causing soft oral tissue damage (tongue and lips). It is also important to check whether the dental nerve of pulp (centre of tooth) is unhurt.

Cracked tooth

Apply cold packs to minimise swelling and contact your dentist.

Be mindful that cracked teeth can be the result of trauma such as falling, as well as bad habits including clenching, teeth grinding, and chewing hard items. Cracked teeth lead to inconsistent pain out of chewing. Huge cracks can also result in infection of pulp tissue inside the tooth. If left untreated this infection can spread to the bone, may appear in time as a boil or pimple on your gum near the affected tooth.

Dislodged / knocked-out tooth

Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water without removing any attached tissue fragments. Gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket with a washcloth or gauze or otherwise place the tooth in a cup of milk or hold in cheek. Make your way to a dentist as soon as possible.


This was posted by:
Dr Markijan Hupalo – Prosthodontist
Originally from Brisbane, Dr Hupalo is a Sydney-based Prosthodontist. He obtained his primary degree from Queensland University and graduated with Honours in 1988. He commenced his dental practicing career as a Dental Officer with the Royal Australian Air Force, where he worked for almost ten years. In 1996 he completed his military service and returned to Sydney to begin specialist training in 1996. He gained specialist registration in 1999 after graduating from the specialist clinical training programme in prosthodontics at the University of Sydney. He has a specialist private practice in Sydney with an international reputation for quality dental solutions and patient care. Apart from the traditional dental restorative solutions, Dr Hupalo has a special interest in adhesive dentistry and conservative dental solutions. Dr Hupalo holds a teaching appointment with the University of Sydney and is involved in Prosthodontic education at the undergraduate and post graduate level.  He is an advisor to tertiary institutions, industry and is a consultant to the legal profession. Visit: www.sydneyprosthodontics.com
Print Friendly