Our teeth are very strong but despite this, the stresses and strains of our everyday life can still cause them to chip, crack or break.
Common cause of these breaks can include:
- Chewing on hard foods
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Facial trauma following an accident
- Damage from a sports injury
- Untreated cavities causing the tooth to become brittle and break
- Old, large amalgam fillings, where the remaining structure of the natural tooth can become brittle
Broken teeth can cause varying degrees of pain, from extremely painful, to discomfort triggered by hot or cold foods or drink, even to no signs of immediate pain. However, in order to prevent further damage or infection which could result in the loss of the tooth, it’s important to book an appointment with your Prospect Street Dental Practice dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment of a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it is damaged. For small breaks or chips it may be possible to repair in a single visit with a simple filling or bonding. For more severe breaks, multiple visits may be required to repair the break with multiple treatments.
Treatment for fractures and broken teeth
Teeth with minor chips on the edges usually don’t cause any pain or problems, but your Prospect Street Dental Practice dentist will most likely repair a chip by smoothing the edge and inserting a tooth-coloured filling to prevent it from cutting your lips or tongue.
Heavily fractured and seriously broken teeth may need more complex treatment. For instance, a large cavity that causes a major fracture or break, causing pain and infection, may need root canal treatment. Cracks and breaks may expose your nerve endings, making the teeth sensitive to hot and cold air and foods.
Root canal treatment isn’t always necessary if your teeth are chipped or broken, though. Where there’s no pain or infection, cracks are filled and bound together with a specialised tooth cement, while a broken tooth will be fixed with a crown. Crowns are also used as part of the treatment for other types of splits and breaks, such as broken cusps, split roots/vertical breaks, split molars, and as a buttress against further cracks. If your tooth has decayed from the inside-out and is now broken, your Prospect Street Dental Practice dentist may recommend that your tooth is removed.
Sometimes, if you have a cracked or broken tooth, it may not be noticeable because it doesn’t hurt. But no matter how minor these problems are, they should still be investigated by your dentist, as infections can arise if the problem isn’t treated. The best course of action is, as always, a good oral hygiene regime and regular reviews with the dentist.
What to do if you break your tooth
If you’ve fractured or broken a tooth, follow these steps immediately before booking an appointment with Prospect Street Dental Practice.
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water
- Apply pressure on any bleeding areas using gauze or a wet teabag
- Apply an icepack to your cheek if there’s any swelling
- If you have access to it, cover any major cracks with temporary dental cement
- If it’s painful, use over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol
- If you have suffered trauma where a tooth has been completely knocked out, try to store it in a container with milk, saliva or saline and see your dentist as soon as possible on the same day- this may allow it to be reimplanted potentially saving the tooth!
As with any teeth problems, if you have fractured or chipped a tooth it's important to book an appointment at Prospect Street Dental Practice to see a dentist as soon as possible, rather than waiting for routine dental health review. We will discuss the best method of repairing the break with you.
At Prospect Street Dental Practice in Reading we use resin composite fillings to match the colour of your teeth and ensure a long-lasting and natural-looking result. We also offer porcelain crowns, inlays and onlays as successful options for repairing cracked, broken, decayed or heavily filled teeth. They are hardwearing and can be colour-matched perfectly to your own teeth.
If you would like to discuss concerns with any broken or chipped teeth give us a call on 0118 947 2517.