Patients in Cheviot discover treatment options for how to repair a broken tooth
Having a broken tooth is not fun and is not part of anyone’s plan. A fractured, chipped, or cracked tooth not only detracts from your smile’s appearance, but also can cause cuts inside the mouth, pain, and problems eating or speaking. Depending on the depth of the problem, there may be more than one solution on how to repair a broken tooth. Patients in Cheviot can turn to Drs. Jesal Patel and Shawn Dornhecker who have office locations in Fairfield and Bridgetown.
How a broken tooth occurs
Even with the best intentions, the unexpected can occur. Trauma can happen to an otherwise healthy smile. From a sports injury to breaking a tooth while eating, damage can occur at any time. The most common ways teeth may break include:
- Sports injuries – Dental accidents commonly occur during sporting events. Without proper protection, a tooth can be broken or knocked loose. Wearing a mouthguard during contact sports protects the teeth and minimizes the potential damage to the lips, cheeks, and tongue.
- Eating hard foods – Chewing on hard food or candies can damage the teeth. Avoid biting down on ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy. Aside from breaking a tooth, hard food items can damage a crown or filling.
- Damage from decay – As decay spreads through a tooth it weakens the structure, making a break or crack a possibility.
Chances are your broken tooth will not occur when you already have a dental visit planned. When an emergency strikes, remain calm and contact the dentist. The injury needs to be handled properly for a positive outcome. When you chip or break a tooth, cleanse it by rinsing the area. Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If needed, an oral pain reliever may help minimize discomfort, but do not place it on the tooth or gums.
How to fix a broken tooth
Once you arrive at the office, your dental team assesses the damage to the teeth and gums. A treatment plan is devised depending on the damage that has occurred. A broken tooth and a cracked tooth are different problems with different solutions. A broken tooth may include a broken cusp, severe breaks, small chips, or breaks from decay. The type of break determines the treatment options.
- A broken cusp occurs when a pointed section of a molar completely breaks off the rest of the tooth. Onlays and crowns can repair the damage.
- When a tooth is severely broken, the tooth is damaged to its nerve. This is often painful and may cause bleeding. Treatment may require a root canal and a crown.
- A chipped tooth often occurs in the front of the mouth. Small chips are more of a cosmetic problem than a functional one. A small chip may be repaired with composite resin bonding. This tooth-colored, clay-like material adheres to the tooth and can be molded and hardened into the appropriate shape to complete the smile.
- Larger chips may be repaired with dental bonding or a crown. A crown is essentially a protective cap that covers a natural tooth or a dental implant. Using impressions of the teeth and a shading guide, the crown is matched to the adjacent teeth in size, shape, and color. The crown restores the tooth functionally and aesthetically.
- When a tooth breaks as a result of decay or a cavity, the tooth structure is weakened. Treatment options vary, depending on the extent of the damage.
A cracked tooth is split without any part of the tooth actually breaking off. The tooth may crack above or below the gumline. A tooth that only has a crack in the crown, which is the visible part of the tooth above the gumline, may be treated with a filling or dental crown. However, if the crack extends below the gumline and into the root, the tooth can no longer be saved. A dental implant may be used to replace the tooth.
If you have broken a tooth, remember to stay calm and contact your dental professional. Your dental team will work with you to find a solution to save your smile. For more information on how to repair a broken tooth, contact Patel and Dornhecker Dentistry in Bridgetown at (513) 815-3188 or in Fairfield at (513) 815-3166.