Did you break your tooth in two? Time to see your dentist! How quickly this should happen and what the dentist will do about it depends on the type and severity of the breakage. Here are the things to know and the steps to take for everything from a minor tooth fracture to a clean, complete break.
How Was Half of Your Tooth Broken?
Did you know that tooth enamel is the hardest part of the human body? Teeth are actually harder than human bones. However, this does not mean that teeth are indestructible. There are many things that can damage or even split a tooth:
Biting on something hard, such as popcorn kernels, hard candy, or ice cubes can crack or break teeth.
.A fall, car crash, or any strong blow to the mouth can dislocate or break one or more of the teeth.
.Using the teeth as a tool to rip or tear something is not recommended as it may damage or break the teeth.
.Old, loose fillings or large fillings that cover most of a tooth may begin to separate from the teeth. This weakens the teeth and makes them more likely to crack or break.
.Teeth grinding (called bruxism) puts too much pressure on the teeth, making them vulnerable to fracture.
.Teeth can weaken and break due to age, poor dental hygiene, and even heredity.
Compared to breaking a bone, breaking a tooth may not seem so serious. However, bones have the ability to regenerate and heal when broken. Cracked, chipped or broken teeth won’t do this. If they are not fixed, they stay that way. It is always best to see the dentist, even for minor dental damage.
What Happens If Broken Teeth Are Not Treated?
It is a bad idea to ignore damaged teeth as they will not heal on their own. When a tooth is broken, there is usually pain and swelling. And if the fracture goes deep enough, the tooth may bleed and be sensitive to heat and cold. Biting in that area can hurt, which can make it difficult to eat.
A jagged edge from a tooth breakage can be uncomfortable when it rubs against the sides of the mouth or tongue. And if the fracture is in the front tooth, there is an obvious problem with how it looks.
Another problem with leaving a broken tooth alone is that it interferes with the way the teeth come together when the patient speaks and chews. This can cause jaw pain, as well as cause the jaw and teeth to shift to accommodate the defective bite.
Worse than this inconvenience or cosmetic issues is the possibility of more serious dental issues. Any violation of tooth enamel exposes the inner layers of the tooth to bacteria. The ingress of bacteria can cause cavities. Worse still, if a crack or fracture goes all the way down to the root, the infection can attack the nerves and blood vessels in the center of the tooth. This can result in tooth abscess or pulpitis. A root canal procedure or even extraction may be necessary.
Can the Dentist Fix a Broken Tooth?
If a broken tooth is painful or bleeding, call the dentist right away. However, even on a bad break, you may not feel pain or see blood. These things usually mean that the break is not an emergency, but you should still make a dental appointment. A painless very small chip or crack can usually wait until the next scheduled checkup. The dentist usually has a simple solution to solving minor problems. Serious fractures (for example, if half of a molar is broken) may require more complex treatment and it is important not only to do this, but also quickly. The following methods are the most common fixes for cracks, chips and broken teeth:
.The dentist can fix a small chip using a dental file.
.Tooth filling material can close cracks or fill chips that have not damaged tooth enamel too much.
.Coatings are good for covering the front of the teeth to hide chips, cracks or fractures on the front facing surface of the visible teeth.
.Tooth bonding can work like a veneer. It can also be used to reattach a broken piece of tooth.
.When the tooth is severely damaged, a dental crown may be required. To look and feel like a real tooth, a crown is made, placed on top, and sealed to prevent future decay. This may also be the best option when a molar is bisected. When the fracture is deep enough to damage the root or pulp chamber, the dentist may recommend a root canal procedure. They will remove the soft tissue in the center of the tooth and then finish it off with a crown.
If a tooth breaks below the gum line or the root breaks and splits in two, extraction may be the only option. After tooth extraction, the patient can choose a restoration such as a prosthetic or dental implant. The dentist’s decision about what to do about a broken tooth depends on how far down the broken tooth is and whether it affects the root. Their priority will be to relieve the pain first and then to preserve the integrity of the tooth. That means isolating it from bacteria and making sure it’s structurally strong. Finally, they will restore the appearance of the tooth.
Steps to be Taken Until the Dental Appointment
After the patient has broken his tooth in two, it may not be possible to go to the dentist immediately. The patient can do the following until his appointment;
.If possible, save the broken part of the tooth in case the dentist can glue it in place.
.Bit a piece of clean gauze to stop any bleeding.
.Manage pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
.Eat only soft foods and avoid extremely hot or cold foods and drinks.
.If the entire tooth is dislodged, hold it only at the top, not at the roots. If you can go directly to the dentist, gently irrigate with water or saline solution and place it back on the gum. If it is not possible to go to the dentist immediately, try storing the tooth saline solution in a container with some salt water. In most cases, this can protect the tooth for up to 24 hours.
.If there is severe unstoppable bleeding or if a broken tooth occurred in an incident with other injuries, it is best to go to the emergency room.
Finding a Dentist for a Broken Tooth
A broken tooth is not always an emergency, but should be taken seriously. It’s not always clear how bad a fracture is without the expertise of a dentist. Better to make an appointment and get a quick fix than suffering later with a bad bruise or damaged root.