96 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
1. Broken tooth
It is possible to save a broken tooth. It depends on where the tooth is
broken and whether its nerve is still covered.
• Pain when breathing air or drinking
• Blood from the gums around the tooth.
• Tooth moves when you touch it.
Take out the broken tooth if:
• its nerve is not covered. If no one can give special root canal
treatment, the tooth must come out. Germs from the saliva have
already gone inside the tooth and started a small infection.
• its root is broken. To see if it is broken, push gently against the
tooth as you feel the bone around its roots. The tooth’s root
probably is broken if the tooth moves but the bone does not. The
root probably is not broken if both the tooth and bone move.
However, the bone around the roots may be broken (page 109).
You can save a broken tooth if the nerve is still covered and the
root is not broken. To do this, use a file on the sharp edges around the
break. This makes them smooth so they do not cut the tongue. Later, an
experienced dental worker who has the equipment can cover the broken
part with a cap or a filling. Until this is possible, tell the person how to
protect the tooth:
• Give the tooth a rest. Use other teeth to eat.
• Do not drink things that are very hot or cold, and do not eat
• Watch the tooth. See if it changes color (gets darker). Also watch
the gums near the root. See if a sore (gum bubble) develops.
A dark tooth and gum bubble are signs that the tooth is dying. Take it out,
unless you can give special nerve treatment.