How to store your broken tooth until you get to the dentist.

By Seriously Science | December 2, 2013 7:00 am

Breaking a tooth, whether due to a punch in the face, a fall, or biting into a frozen chocolate bar (yes, that happened to me… it was horrifying to realize there was neither toffee nor almonds in the chocolate, but I digress), is a stressful event. In fact, tooth loss is a common theme in many people’s anxiety dreams. So, if you do break a tooth and happen to find the wayward piece, what should you do with it? More specifically, how should you store it? Well, to determine the best way to store a broken tooth to ensure a strong bond when it is glued back in, these scientists started by collecting a bunch of teeth: “In this experimental laboratory study, 60 human mandibular incisors, which were extracted because of periodontal diseases, without any defects such as fractures, decalcification, or caries were collected.” These teeth were then broken, stored in various liquids or in air, and then glued back together. The scientists then determined how much force it took to re-break the teeth. It turns out that the old wives’ tale is right–you should pop that bad boy in a glass of milk!

Effect of storage environment on the bond strength of reattachment of crown fragments to fractured teeth.

“AIM: The aim of this study was to examine various storage environments for storing fragments before being bonded to the remaining teeth and also estimate the required force to fracture the restored teeth.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Sixty mandibular incisor teeth were fractured on the incisal one-third and were divided into five groups of 12 each to be stored in normal saline, water, milk, saliva and dry environments for 24 hours. All the fractured parts in each group were bonded to their relevant apical parts by an etch and rinse bonding system and a flowable composite resin. The fracture resistance was measured by a universal testing machine, and the results were analyzed using one-way ANOVA and Tukey statistical tests.
RESULTS: The results revealed that the difference among the five groups was statistically significant (P<0.001). Tukey tests showed that the force required for fracturing fragments kept in the milk and saliva environments were significantly higher than those for the normal saline, water and dry environments (P CONCLUSIONS:It was concluded that keeping the fractured parts in milk and saliva environments can increase the required force for fracturing teeth more than the other environments.”

Related content:
NCBI ROFL: Social perceptions of individuals missing upper front teeth.
NCBI ROFL: Note to self: opening beer bottles with your teeth is bad.
Seriously, Science?: A new thing to fear: “intranasal teeth”.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, told you so
  • Nadia Shireen Siddiqi

    My right incisor was chipped in a car accident in 1990, when I was four years old, I tried to get it fixed when I was 22, and the dentist shaved a lot of enamel off to make the filling stick.
    Then like Snow White, I bit into an apple. I’m afraid if I go back (I’m 30 now) to a dentist to make my incisor whole again; the filling itself won’t be good for me, but I should because my oral cavity fills up with Saliva if I try to sing or talk for too long, and broken teeth cause watery mouth.

    I haven’t saved my milk teeth , and I don’t have a broken piece dunked in milk in the freezer… Interesting study, I’m not sure if you can recommend a safe clean filling that will stop the excess saliva production but if you can that would be nice.


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