What to Do with a Chipped Tooth

woman cringing at chipped tooth. close up of woman's mouth

Has anyone every told you to place a chipped tooth in milk? What sounds like an old wives’ tale is actually rooted in science. Accidents happen, and a chipped tooth is not the end of the world, as long as you seek appropriate dental treatment as soon as possible. Now, if you’re still confused on why placing your chipped tooth in milk is a good idea, read on.

Milk and Teeth

When a tooth chips, your emotions can range from confusion, to fear, to panic. Remember to take a deep breath, because broken and chipped teeth are fairly common. If the tooth has been significantly broken, the best thing to do in this situation is to find the chipped tooth and wash it in saline, and then place in milk—it is not recommended to wash it in water. When a tooth is placed in water, the exposed surface may become damaged. Milk on the other hand, has proteins that can prevent this from happening.

The enzymes and sugars in milk help nourish the tooth’s cells. Along with those components, milk provides an alkaline environment to help keep the tooth alive. In cases where milk or saline-solution is not readily available, the next best option is to keep the tooth in your mouth where saliva can help protect it.

Small Chips

If the chip is minor, your dentist will likely not try to salvage it, so you do not have to worry about saving it. Be sure to rinse your mouth in warm salt water to help reduce your risk for infection. Small chips are treated by implanting a crown, bonding, or veneer.

What Next

Now remember, storing your tooth in milk is only a temporary solution, and in fact, it may only work for the first 4-6 hours. You should immediately contact your dentist and schedule an appointment to get your chipped tooth taken care of. Without doing so, your risk of infection becomes higher and your chances of successfully repairing the tooth significantly decrease as more time passes.

If you have a chipped tooth, be sure to get it fixed sooner rather than later. Contact local dentist Dr. Michael Koumas in Newburgh, NY to discuss what your best treatment option is.

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