Teeth are remarkably strong, but they can chip, crack (fracture) or break.
This can happen in several ways:
- · Biting down on something hard
- · Being hit in the face or mouth
- · Falling
- · Having cavities that weaken the tooth
- · Having large, old amalgam fillings that don’t support the remaining enamel of the tooth
How to Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth
If your tooth is chipped, fractured or broken, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could be damaged further or become infected, possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth.
Until you get to the dentist’s office:
- · Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water
- · If there is any bleeding in your mouth, use a piece of gauze to apply pressure to the area
- · If you can’t get to your dentist right away, cover the affected tooth with temporary dental cement. You can find this at a drugstore.
Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it is damaged. Here are some ways your dentist may repair your broken or chipped tooth.
Dental Filling or Bonding
If you have chipped off just a small piece of tooth enamel, your dentist may repair the damage with a filling. If the repair is to a front tooth or can be seen when you smile, your dentist will likely use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-coloured composite resin.
Dental Cap or Crown
If a large piece of tooth breaks off or the tooth has a lot of decay, the dentist may grind or file away part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown or tooth-shaped cap to protect the tooth and improve its appearance.
If a front tooth is broken or chipped, a dental veneer can make it look whole and healthy again. A dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-coloured porcelain or resin composite material that covers the entire front of the tooth.
Root Canal Therapy
If a tooth chip or break is large enough to expose the pulp (the center of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels), bacteria from the mouth can enter and infect the pulp. If your tooth hurts, changes colour or is sensitive to heat; the pulp is probably damaged or diseased. In this case, the tooth would be treated with a root canal. After root canal therapy, a crown would be placed to protect the crack from spreading.
If you think your tooth might be cracked or broken or you know it is, you need to see your dentist right away so you can avoid further damage and possible infection.
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