Broken Tooth Repair
The tooth is said to be broken when its chewing surface breaks off, usually occurring around a filling. It is also known as a fractured cusp. A broken tooth rarely damages the pulp, and in most occasion, doesn’t cause much pain. Your dentist can place a new filling or crown over the damaged tooth to protect it.
Things like falling, receiving a blow to the face, or biting on something hard – especially if your tooth already has a little decay, can cause a tooth to chip or break. Some other reasons for tooth breakage may include chewing on hard objects or foods like ice, nuts or hard candy. If in a situation like this, don’t panic, there are many things your dentist can do to be of help.
The first step in the treatment of a broken tooth is to know how to take care of it. So, how do you take care of your broken tooth?
If your tooth is broken or fractured, your first step is to see your dentist as soon as you can. Failure to do this can result in further damage to your tooth. Damages may include infections which could possibly cause you to end up losing the tooth.
Before your visit to the dentist, you can try the following first aid tips:
- When eating, avoid eating strong food and don’t bite down on the broken tooth
- If the break has created a sharp edge, you can cover it up with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to avoid cutting your tongue
- If you keep feeling pain from the tooth, try a pain relief medicine.
Now, how is broken tooth treated?
The treatment method used on your broken tooth simply depends on how severely damaged your tooth is. If you only broke a small piece of the enamel, then it can be repaired on one visit to your dentist’s office. However, a badly damaged tooth requires a more lengthy and costly procedure. The various ways your dentist can help treat your broken tooth include:
Filling or Bonding:
Filling is mostly used when only a small piece of the tooth enamel is broken. However, if the broken tooth is located at the front or can be seen when you smile, the bonding approach- which involves a tooth-colored composite resin- is likely to be used.
Bonding is a simple procedure and it usually doesn’t require numbing the tooth. To do this, you dentist would have to first etch the tooth’s surface with a liquid or gel to roughen it and make the bonding material adhere to it. After which, the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth then adds a tooth colored resin. After shaping the bonding material to have a natural look, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to harden the material.
The Cap or Crown Procedure:
This procedure is usually used when a large part of the tooth enamel is broken. If the tooth has a lot of decay, your dentist might have to file away the remaining part of the tooth and cover it with a crown which is made to protect the tooth and provide a better appearance. These crowns are made from either metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. Each type has their own benefits.
To get a crown treatment usually requires two visits to the dentist’s office. During the first visit, your dentist may take X-rays to check the roots of the tooth and surrounding bone for any infection or further problems. If nothing is detected, the dentist will numb the tooth and its surrounding gum and then remove enough of the remaining tooth to provide room for a crown.
If a break or chip is noticed or has left a large piece of the tooth missing, your dentist may use a filling material to build up the tooth to enable it to hold the crown. Next, an impression of the tooth is made, receiving the crown as well as the opposing tooth.
During the second visit, which is usually two to three weeks later, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent one is cemented in its place. Some dental offices have some advanced technology that can help them make the crown the same day.
This procedure is used to make a broken tooth located at the front look whole and healthy again. A dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material that covers the whole front of the tooth with a thicker section which replaces the broken part of the tooth.
To prepare your tooth for this procedure, your dentist removes around 0.3 to 1.2 millimetres of enamel from the tooth surface. The dentist then makes an impression of the tooth which will be sent to a dental laboratory, which makes the veneer. When veneer is ready (usually a week or two later), you’ll need to go back to the dentist to have it placed. Once in position, your dentist uses a special light to trigger chemicals in the cement which makes it harden quickly.
Root Canal Therapy:
If the tooth broken is large enough to expose the root tissues or pulp, there are chances that bacteria will set in and this causes infection on the pulp. Pulp tissues can die and when they are not removed on time, the tooth gets infected and would need to be removed. This procedure involves removing the dead pulp, cleaning the root canal, and then sealing it.
In most cases, root canal treatments are not as painful as the filling of cavity. And in most cases, the remaining tooth must be covered with a crown to protect the weakened tooth.
Treating your broken tooth helps to ensure the reduction or total elimination of pain and discomfort. It also helps to avoid further breakage of the tooth, thereby, avoiding further damage and infection.