Although the enamel on your teeth is some of the toughest tissue in your body, it is still vulnerable to chipping or breaking. If you fall down, get hit in the face, use your teeth to open packaging, or bite down on hard food, you risk a broken tooth.
It can hurt to chip, crack, or break a tooth and unless it’s a minor chip, you will need to see a dentist to fix your tooth. In the meantime, you need to address any pain and protect the tooth and inside of your mouth to avoid additional injury.
To avoid a broken tooth, you need to make sure to always wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports such as hockey or football. You should also avoid biting down on ice or hard candy.
Additionally, do not use your teeth to tear open plastic packaging, hold objects, or open bottles. You should only use your teeth for chewing food. You also want to keep in mind that if you have chipped or broken a tooth previously, that tooth will be more prone to breaking in the future, even if it has been repaired, so you want to be extra careful with that tooth.
After you break or chip a tooth, the American Dental Association recommends that you immediately rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. Be sure to apply pressure if there is any bleeding and then place a cold compress on the area to reduce any swelling.
If you are able to find your piece of the chipped or broken tooth, wrap the piece in a piece of wet gauze and take it with you to your dentist.
There are several ways to repair a broken tooth, and the method used will depend on how severe the chip or break is. Chipped tooth treatments include:
This is a common method used to repair broken or chipped teeth and is a great method for small or less complicated damage. When a chipped tooth is bonded, a composite material is molded over the chip and the healthy part of the tooth.
First, your dentist roughs up the remaining enamel to ensure the composite attaches properly. Once this is done, they will attach and shape the bond to provide you with a natural-looking cover over your chipped or broken tooth. The composite is set with a blue light to harden the material for a strong bond that, when properly cared for, can last up to ten years.
Dental Crown and Caps
Dental caps and crowns are porcelain that is used to cover your teeth. A crown is a dental device that is used to cover the entire damaged tooth and is considered to be the best method to repair a broken tooth if you have suffered a significant loss to your original tooth.
With a crown, your dentist can fix your smile quickly and prevent tooth decay, damage, and pain due to exposed nerves. You will need to come in to have the mold for the crown created, and at your second visit, we will cement your dental crown in place. While you wait, we will place a temporary crown to protect your tooth.
Unlike dental crowns, porcelain veneers only cover the front or visible part of the tooth. A veneer is a porcelain cover that goes over the damaged tooth for a smooth, natural look that is identical to your natural teeth.
We can install one veneer over the damaged tooth or over several teeth for a cohesive smile. Veneers are an effective way to repair your broken tooth while upgrading the look of your smile. Veneers can last for ten to twenty years when properly cared for.
If you’ve broken off the majority of your tooth but the root is still intact, we may recommend a root canal. This is where we will place a pin or post in the canal f your tooth. This is done to help build up the structure so that we can place a temporary crown and then a permanent one later to restore your smile.
A dental filling is most commonly used to repair a cavity or a broken tooth. This method works best for a chipped molar or back tooth that is not very visible. Most commonly, metal fillings are used, but there are materials like porcelain that can be used for fillings for a more natural look and feel.
At South Hills Dental Arts, we specialize in several methods that can be used to repair your chipped or broken tooth. Contact us today to make an appointment!