Have you ever experienced the sinking feeling of biting into a favorite snack only to realize you’re chewing on a piece of broken tooth? It’s more common than you might think, especially as we age. Tooth grinding, wear and tear, and injuries can all lead to broken, chipped, or cracked teeth. Realizing you’ve broken a tooth often leads to a moment of panic. The good news is that your family dentist can help. The recommended treatment will depend on the extent of the damage and where it occurs. Schedule an appointment as soon as you’re aware something’s wrong.
How Can My Family Dentist Treat a Broken Tooth?
There are several options for repairing a broken tooth. The choice depends on the severity and location of the damage. If it’s minimal, we take a conservative approach, usually bonding or a filling. Bonding is often our go-to approach for a broken front tooth. We repair the break with a tooth-colored resin, shape it to match your tooth, and then harden it with an ultraviolet light.
If a larger piece of your tooth breaks off, we usually recommend a crown, especially for molars. In this case, your dentist removes part of your natural tooth and replaces it with a porcelain or resin crown. You may also need a root canal treatment depending on the extent of the damage. Treating a broken tooth with a crown usually requires at least two office visits. First, your dentist will take x-rays to check on your tooth, the root, and the surrounding bone. Next, she’ll file the remaining tooth to make room for the crown. Then she’ll make an impression of your tooth and send it to a lab to produce the crown. Your dentist can often put a temporary crown in place while you wait.
What Should I Do For a Chipped Tooth?
A chipped tooth is usually a cosmetic fix patients want to take care of immediately. It affects our smile and self-confidence. The most common treatments for chipped teeth are bonding and veneers.
Veneers are thin porcelain shells that cover the front of your teeth. They usually involve a two or three-visit process. Your dentist makes an impression on your teeth and creates a customized veneer for each tooth. The advantages of veneers include durability and stain resistance. Patients should note that they are a permanent procedure since your dentist has to remove some of your enamel and reshape the underlying tooth to apply the veneers.
Bonding is a favorite option if one or two chipped teeth need repair. We use a natural-looking composite resin to fill in the chip. Unlike veneers, we don’t need to remove enamel to repair your. Your dentist applies the resin on top of your existing tooth. Bonding is a cost-effective approach to chips and minor imperfections and is often covered by insurance.
What Can I Do For a Cracked Tooth?
Fractured or cracked teeth can happen because of age, medical conditions, biting hard food, or tooth grinding. Unlike a broken or chipped tooth, you might not immediately notice a crack. Many patients first suspect something is wrong when they experience new sensitivity or pain. We often see cracking in the lower molars, which often take the brunt of grinding, chewing, and other habits. Treatment depends on where the crack occurs and how severe the fracture is. We see several types of fractures. It might be a vertical crack from the surface of your tooth down to the gum, a hairline crack in the enamel, or cracks around existing fillings. We also see fractures in the tooth root that can become infected.
Your family dentist will often treat your cracked tooth with bonding or a crown, as with a break or chip. With a mild crack in the enamel, a dental contouring procedure using an abrasive tool may do the trick. However, If a fracture occurs below the gumline, we may refer you to an endodontist specializing in treating dental pulp and roots.
Have a Broken or Chipped Tooth? Call Your Family Dentist
From the initial panic to embarrassment and self-consciousness about your smile, a broken tooth takes a toll. If it happens to you, take a deep breath and call your family dentist. We can fix it and restore your beautiful smile. At Greenhill Family Dental Care, our dentists have in-depth experience in restorations and repairs. We aim to prevent infection and preserve the integrity of your teeth and gums. Our team also has extensive training in cosmetic procedures to help restore your smile in the most beautiful possible way.