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Why is it important to check before you eat?

Well! There might be multiple reasons for that.

Including that it is as important to “check what goes in your mouth as important it is to keep a check on what comes out of it”

Let’s understand the oral health perspective of this

 Curiosity killed the cat, let’s quench it before it gets you

 The food that we eat are of different consistencies, from crisp to chewy, hard to bite on, to very soft.

There are tissues similar in function to a vehicle suspension that surround the teeth. These tissues help (similar to a suspension) to cushion the jerks and maintain the correct force of chewing.

You might have experienced this; you require different forces of chewing while chewing on foods with different consistencies. Along with the muscles which aid in chewing, this suspension like structures help in maintaining the force that is required to chew a food of a certain consistency.

If, suddenly a hard substance, (like an unexpected piece of chicken bone in a boneless chicken dish) comes in between your teeth while chewing on something soft this can result in damage to the tooth as well as the tooth suspensions and the muscles.

This is because it results in a sudden jerk on these structures. It is similar to the type of jerk you will feel if you are driving at a speed of 80km/hr and suddenly hit a pot hole.

So while you chew, it is important that either the food should be of almost the same consistency or that you should be aware of the different consistencies.

This is generally the case.

The problem generally arises when there is an unexpected change in consistency in the food while chewing and the muscles or the suspension isn’t prepared for it.

How to deal with such an incidence?

 When something like this happens, the effect can vary from mild pain to fracture of the tooth.

The first sept involves understanding the extent of damage.

Evaluate the damage using the following steps

·        Is there severe pain?

·        How long did the pain last?

·        Is there bleeding from the area?

·        Is the tooth moving?

Get this evaluation done right now here

Generally, after such an incidence, even if the tooth has no damage you will experience pain. This is because the supporting structures and the muscles that were maintaining the force of chewing get damaged and there would be some minor if not excessive swelling.

This would make chewing difficult from that area typically for 5-7 days.

 What is the treatment

After the complete evaluation of the condition, the treatment depends on the extent of damage done.

As there will always be associated pain with or without any other damage to the teeth the initial care would involve

·        Stop chewing from the affected side for 5-7 days

·        Avoid eating hot foods

·        Avoid eating hard foods

·        Place an ice pack on the outside of the mouth on the affected area. This will help in the faster resolution of swelling and pain in that region

·        Get prescription medicines to reduce the internal swelling that has occurred.

After the first line of care, the next step involves the definitive treatment

·        If there is just a minor swelling with discomfort the above mentioned steps would be adequate to resolve the issue effectively within 3-5 days with medication.

·        If a portion of the tooth is broken, it would require evaluation to understand, if any part of the root (the portion of the tooth not seen in the mouth) is broken.

a)     If only a portion of the tooth is broken and there is no bleeding: A simple filling would be effective enough

b)     If a portion of the tooth is broken but there was bleeding while it occurred: Root canal might be required along with the filling and the placement of an artificial crown.

c)      If the root portion of the tooth is broken:  This might require extensive and long term treatment, involving treating the fracture of the root, root canal and artificial crown placement

A pretty common condition. Damage to tooth due to biting on something hard DOES require treatment and should not be ignored.

The definitive treatment depends on the extent of damage and a complete evaluation of the condition.

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