You’re munching on some icy treats or hard candy and suddenly realize that there’s something hard and unyielding in your mouth. As the realization of what it sinks in, you feel sick: a broken tooth.
Enamel, the protective covering of your teeth, is the strongest, most mineralized tissue in the body, yet it still has its limitations. A tooth may chip or shatter as the result of a fall, a blow to the face, or the biting of something hard, especially if the tooth has decayed. Don’t freak out if you accidentally chip teeth. You may have it fixed in a variety of ways at the dentist.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the most popular dental treatments for broken teeth.
Fixing Broken Teeth 101: Using Dental Bonding or Filling
A filling may be all that’s needed to restore a little damaged area of enamel that has been carefully removed by your dentist. Bonding, in which a tooth-colored composite resin is used, is a common dental repair method for front teeth and other teeth that are visible when you smile.
When bonding, the tooth is not normally numbed since it is a painless treatment. The tooth’s surface is first etched with a liquid or gel used by the dentist to help the bonding material adhere to the tooth. Dental glue is then placed on the tooth, and a tooth-colored resin is then placed on top.
The bonding substance is shaped by the dentist, and then the material is hardened by exposure to UV radiation, making the tooth seem to be completely natural.
Dental Crowns and Caps to Repair Broken Teeth
A crown, or tooth-shaped cap, is a dental restoration used to maintain and enhance the look of a tooth after it has had extensive treatment for damage (such as a major portion breaking off) or decay (such as extensive cavities). Metal, and porcelain bonded to metal, resin, and ceramic are all viable options for permanent crowns.
The advantages of various kinds vary. Strongest of all are crowns made of metal. Your dentist can sculpt crowns made of porcelain or resin to seem very much like the patient’s natural teeth.
Root canal treatment, in which your dentist puts a pin or post in the canal and enough of the tooth’s structure builds up around it so that a crown is ready to go. It’s a good option if the tooth’s crown has been knocked off but the root is still intact. The crown is now cemented onto the pin or post-retained repair at a later appointment.
How It All Works
As a rule, you’ll need two visits to the dentist to place a crown. To examine the tooth’s underlying structure and the bone around it, your dentist may take X-rays at the initial appointment. If the tooth and gum are free of infection, the dentist will numb the area, prepare the tooth for the crown, and place the crown.
Your dentist may use filler material to restore the tooth’s shape and size if it has been significantly altered by a crack or chip, making it strong enough to support the crown. Your dentist will next use a putty-like substance to take an imprint of the tooth that will get the crown and the tooth directly opposite it (the one it will touch when you bite down).
Specialists fabricate the crown in a lab after your dentist gets your impressions. Then, your dentist could fit you with an acrylic or metal temporary crown while you wait.
After two to three weeks, you’ll return to the dentist to have the temporary crown removed and the new, permanent crown fitted and cemented into place.
Dental veneers may restore the appearance of a fractured or chipped front tooth to normal function and health. A dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material that covers the front of the tooth (much as a fake nail covers a fingernail) and has a bigger area to replace the damaged portion of the tooth.
Your dentist will remove 0.3 mm to 1.2 mm of enamel to prepare your teeth. The veneer is custom-made by a dental laboratory after an imprint of the tooth is taken by the dentist.
Afterward, your dentist will etch the tooth with a liquid to roughen it before placing the veneer. The veneer is cemented to the newly shaped tooth by the dentist. When the veneer is in place, your dentist will use a bright light to speed up the curing process by stimulating chemicals in the cement.
A tooth that has a break that goes beyond the gum line is no longer salvageable, despite the best efforts of your dentist.
It has been determined that you need a tooth extraction. You may then choose to have a dental implant placed to replace the missing tooth.
When a tooth is lost, dental implants can be used to replace it. They replace your natural tooth’s root and are cemented into the jawbone for a long-lasting fit. If you’re unfamiliar with the procedure, you can learn more about dental implants here.
Root Canal Treatment
When the pulp, which contains the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, and other living tissue, gets exposed due to a chip or crack in the tooth, oral bacteria may invade and cause an infection.
You can consider the pulp injured or diseased if the toothaches, changes color, or is sensitive to heat. You might have the tooth extracted if the infected pulp is not removed.
In a root canal treatment, the infected pulp gets removed. Then, your doctor will clean and disinfect the canal and then seal it.
Both ordinary dentists and specialists called endodontists may do root canal treatment. As unpleasant as a cavity filling may be, root canal treatments often cause less discomfort. A crown is usually necessary to safeguard the remaining tooth after root canal treatment.
Fix Broken Teeth the Right Way
There is no time to waste if you have a fractured or cracked tooth; go to the dentist straight away. Why? In order to forestall more injury and potential infection. It also gives you a better chance of preserving your tooth.
Broken teeth can truly turn a day sour. Thankfully, now you’re familiar with all the different options that can help repair broken or chipped teeth. Next step, check out our health section for more tips on dental care and how to keep your teeth in great shape.