What Are Your Options When A Tooth Breaks?

Not all damaged teeth can be restored with a straightforward filling

Dental check upBreaking a tooth can come as an unpleasant experience when it happens. In most cases it will probably come as a surprise, perhaps when we are eating something or as the result of an accident.

Breakages can also come in various forms and sizes and may require different restorative treatment by one of our Chelmsford dentists depending on the situation.

In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we will take a look at some of the options available when a tooth is broken.

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One thing that you should never do if you suffer a broken tooth is to ignore it. This is probably unlikely if it is painful or if it causes the tooth to scratch or cut the soft tissues in the mouth. A smaller and less inconvenient breakage though may lead to some patients deciding to ‘wait it out’ until their next check up appointment.  A lot of things can go wrong if you do this. You could lose more of the tooth as any breakage will inevitably weaken it; you could end up with tooth decay if the inner part of the tooth is exposed, and finally, if bacteria finds its way into the roots of the tooth, this could well end up with a potentially painful and tooth threatening root canal infection.

Any dental issue should be dealt with as soon as possible and a broken tooth is no exception. Call us straight away for advice on what you should do and to make an appointment to see us as soon as you can.

Chipped and cracked teeth

This is one of the most common types of damage to a tooth. In some cases, any damage may be largely cosmetic but you shouldn’t gamble on this. Even a small crack or chip can lead to the dentin part of the tooth being exposed. This is a porous part of the tooth which can allow bacteria to enter and cause the tooth to gradually decay.

Treatment for this will depend on a number of factors, but possible options include composite bonding, fillings or dental veneers. If a chip is very small and purely cosmetic but has created a sharp edge which is catching on the cheeks or lips, we can treat the tooth to prevent it. This will make your mouth more comfortable and also prevent irritation and the risk of oral soft tissue infections occurring.

Significant breakages

Breakages are most likely to occur if the tooth is already compromised, possibly by decay or from previous and possibly undetected damage. Unfortunately it can lead to a significant amount of the natural tooth being lost which will very likely expose the tooth to decay if not treated promptly. There is even the possibility that further damage to the weakened tooth will lead to extraction and for this reason, we recommend that you act as soon as you can in making an appointment with us. As always, the treatment provided will depend on the situation and our experienced local team will be able to provide the most suitable solution for the problem.

Fillings are still a possibility for a badly broken tooth but this will depend on the extent of the damage. Given that a significant part of the tooth may need to be replaced, many patients opt for the more aesthetic option of tooth coloured fillings that can be made to match the colour of your natural teeth.

Where a filling wouldn’t be sufficient to provide a suitably strong tooth with a good prognosis, a dental crown may be used instead. To fit the crown, the damaged tooth will need to be shaped and impressions will then be taken of the tooth, from which a crown (or cap) will be made. This is done at a special laboratory and can mean a short wait of a week or so until it arrives back at our Chelmsford dental practice. You will be given a temporary crown in the meantime, to protect the tooth.

Once your finished crown arrives here, we will remove the temporary crown and replace it with your completed new crown, using a strong dental adhesive. This provides a very strong bond which should mean the tooth is serviceable again for most circumstances. In rare instances, the crown can become detached and where this does happen, please do not attempt to reattach it yourself and contact your dentist so that it can be done correctly.

Tooth loss

Unfortunately, some breakages mean that there is little left of the tooth to attach a crown to. In these situations, it is almost inevitable that the tooth would become infected and perhaps painfully so as it would be unprotected. When a tooth is in this condition, an extraction might be the only realistic option available to us. Thankfully there are a number of options to replace a missing tooth, including dentures and the excellent, dental implants.

With good preventative oral health care, your teeth should remain strong and healthy, but even the healthiest of teeth can break when accidents occur. If your tooth breaks, please don’t delay in contacting Blue Sky Dental by giving us a call on 01245 211070.

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