Tooth enamel is made of the hardest substances in the human body, but teeth still have their breaking point. If you receive a blow to the face, it’s possible that some of your teeth will get broken or damaged. This is known as a dental injury.
Teeth usually break as a result of trauma — from biting down on something hard, for example, or from a blow to the face. A child may fracture a tooth falling off a bike or curb during play. Cavities that have weakened the tooth also can cause chipping or fractures.
If you are in pain from a broken tooth, cracked or chipped tooth, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever or self-made toothache remedy. If you have a minor chip in your tooth, there’s no need to panic. You’re not in any danger of losing your tooth. Also, if possible, keep any part of the tooth that has broken off and take this with you to the dentist.
If you have a more serious tooth fracture, dental injury, consider it a dental emergency. Rinse your mouth with warm water and call your dentist to get an appointment right away.
There are always small fracture lines running through the enamel of all teeth, and these are of little consequence. More serious are those that propagate through the deeper layers of dentin; these definitely create structural weaknesses, and may even involve the pulp of the tooth.
If you broken tooth you’ll want to see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will need to determine if tooth break was caused by decay and if the nerve is in danger. Adults with a damaged nerve usually will require root canal treatment, but in children, there’s a possibility the nerve can be saved if the dentist is able to treat the problem immediately.
If you must eat, eat only soft foods until you’ve be seen by your dentist. Also be sure to chew on the opposite side of the mouth from the damaged tooth. If you chew on the damaged tooth you will cause further irritation and perhaps even infection, resulting in further damage or tooth loss. Also avoid extremely hot or extremely cold food. Foods that have extreme temperatures cause further pain and can further irritate the damaged area.
Broken Tooth Repair (Fixing Dental Injury)
There are many possible treatments for broken teeth, depending on the severity of the break.
When a dentist suggests that a dental filling should not be placed but instead the tooth should have the protection of a dental crown they are no doubt basing their recommendation on their years of dental training and clinical experience.
Mark Bornfeld DDS:
More than likely, a crown is the most appropriate treatment, assuming the tooth is not in some other way compromised. That caveat is important: a tooth with an extensive history of deep multiple-surface fillings is at risk for other problems, such as vertical fracture through the root, pulpal infection, additional extensive decay, and others.
There is no point in having a crown made if the tooth is doomed for some reason unrelated to the recent fracture. In short, a thorough diagnostic assessment of the tooth and surrounding area must be made in order to devise a reliable, appropriate treatment.
The decision as to when a tooth should be restored by crown rather than by filling is a subjective one, but not necessarily a blind guess. A dentist with relatively few years of experience will know when a tooth is in danger of cracking.
For teeth that need more than a filling, a crown is the most commonly prescribed restoration.