Imagine chewing on a piece of ice, or hard candy, when suddenly you notice something hard in your mouth that doesn’t seem to melt or dissolve. You then get a sick feeling to your stomach when you realize what it actually is- a piece of tooth. Although tooth enamel is the most mineralized and hardest tissue in the body, its strength does have limits. If you fall over, bite on something hard or grind your teeth in your sleep, you may find that your tooth has been chipped. This can be painful, but luckily there are ways that you can fix the tooth while getting to the root of the issue.
CONSEQUENCES OF NOT TREATING A BROKEN TOOTH
If your tooth is broken, fractured or chipped, then you need to visit us as soon as you possibly can. If you don’t, then you may find that your tooth becomes infected, or decayed over time. This can cause you to lose the tooth, which is the last thing that you want.
CARING FOR A BROKEN TOOTH IN THE MEANTIME
If you want to care for your tooth immediately after it breaks, then rinse your mouth with some saltwater. If your tooth is painful then you can take some over the counter pain relief medication. If your break has a sharp or jagged edge, then you can cover it up with some sugarless chewing gum. This will stop it from cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip. If you do have to eat then try and avoid biting down on the tooth and eat some soft food until you can get an appointment with Dr. Patel and the Dynamic Smile Design team.
CRACKED TOOTH REPAIR TREATMENT
There are various options available if you want to get your cracked or broken tooth repaired. Find out more about each below:
DENTAL FILLING OR BONDING
If you have chipped off a very small part of your tooth enamel, then it’s possible that Dr. Patel can repair the damage via a tooth filling. If the repair is to the front of your tooth, or if you can see it when you smile then Dr. Patel at Dynamic Smile Design will use a procedure called dental bonding, which utilizes a composite resin to fix the issue. Bonding is a procedure which does not normally require the tooth to be numbed. Dr. Patel will first roughen the surface of the tooth by using a gel or liquid. This will help the bonding material to adhere. After this, Dr. Patel will then apply some adhesive to the tooth, before adding colored resin. After shaping the resin to look like the tooth, we will then use a UV light to make the whole finish look natural. This is the most common chipped tooth repair.
If a very large piece of the tooth has broken off, or if there is some decay then your Dr. Patel may need to file away at the tooth and then place a dental crown. This is designed to protect the tooth as well as improving the appearance overall. Permanent crowns can be made out of ceramic, resin, metal or porcelain fused to metal. All-metal crowns are the strongest, but porcelain and resin crowns can be made so that they look identical to the tooth being treated. If the entire top of the tooth appears to be broken, but the root is intact then Dr. Patel may perform root canal therapy. A post will be put into the canal, and it will build a structure at which the crown can be applied. After this, we will then cement the crown. Getting a crown will normally take two visits. If this is the case, then our team will take an X-ray to make sure that the roots and the bone to the tooth is structurally sound. If nothing is affected then we will numb the area and remove enough of the tooth to make room for the crown. Dr. Patel will then use putty to make an impression of the tooth which is receiving the crown, as well as the tooth underneath, where you bite down. The impressions will be sent to the lab and the crown will be made. Your second visit will be two weeks later in most cases. Dr. Patel can apply a temporary crown during this time, before the new crown is cemented into place.
If your front tooth is chipped or broken, then a dental veneer can easily make it look healthy again. A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain, or composite that will cover the entire front of your tooth. This can be thought of as being a false nail which covers your fingernail. With the veneer, you will have a thicker section which replaces the broken section of the tooth. When your tooth is being prepared, Dr. Patel will remove minimal amounts of enamel from the surface. She will then make an impression of the tooth, which will be sent to a laboratory. When the veneer is ready, usually in a week or two, the tooth surface will be etched with a liquid. We will then mix some dental cement and add it to the tooth. A special light will then activate the chemicals which make up the cement to harden it.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
If a tooth or a break is big enough and the pulp is exposed, then you run the risk of infection. The pulp is in the heart of the tooth and it contains blood vessels and nerves. If your tooth is sensitive to heat, changes color or hurts, then there’s a high chance that the pulp is being affected. If you leave this then your tooth can become infected and will need extracting. The procedure for this will mean removing the diseased pulp and then cleaning the tooth. The tooth will then be sealed. Most root canals are not any more painful than having a filling.
If you are in need of dental treatment, or if you have a tooth which is causing problems then our dental team will do everything they can to get you scheduled for treatment as soon as possible. We pride ourselves on the service we provide to every one of our patients. You can contact us by phone or by email.