Broken tooth appointments
About Broken tooth
A broken tooth is a dental injury that occurs when the enamel of the tooth is chipped or broken off. This can lead to a tooth that has a sharp, jagged edge. Chipped and broken teeth account for most dental injuries and may be caused by a diverse set of circumstances. You may chip or break a tooth if you experience a serious blow to the head or bite into something hard.
Cavities and tooth decay may also weaken a tooth, causing it to be more susceptible to breaking. In some cases, the break in the tooth may be so small that you don’t feel it or see it.
A broken tooth can be very painful. Pain may be especially intense as you bite down or chew on something. A broken tooth may also expose nerve endings in the mouth that are sensitive to hot and cold substances. If these nerve endings are left untreated, they can cause persistent, severe pain.
If you have a broken tooth, seek dental care right away. Broken teeth cannot be treated at home, and the enamel will not grow back. While you are waiting for treatment, there are a number of steps you can take to clean the area and prevent further damage. These include:
- Rinse your mouth out with warm water.
- Attempt to recover the lost piece of tooth, or if the whole tooth has been knocked out, the whole tooth.
- Apply pressure to the area with gauze (if the affected area is bleeding) and ice to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- If you are unable to get to a health care provider’s office right away, you can apply temporary dental cement to the crack or fracture.
Untreated broken teeth can be painful and unsightly. Seek medical attention if you have chipped, broken, or lost a tooth.
During your appointment, talk to your dentist about proper treatment for your chipped or broken tooth.
Broken teeth are commonly treated with dental care. Types of care used to treat a broken tooth include:
- Reattachment: If you are able to recover the broken tooth, or piece of tooth, keep it in a glass of milk until you see a dentist. The calcium in milk can help preserve the life of the tooth. Reattachment at a dental health care provider’s office can cement this broken piece of tooth back to the affected area.
- Bonding: For chipped or broken teeth, a bonding material (such as resin or porcelain) is applied shaped into the form of the affected tooth. A UV light will dry and harden the material as it is in your mouth. Bonding lasts for about 10 years.
- Onlays/ Crowns: Onlays are applied to a broken surface of the tooth to maintain structure and tooth strength. If the break is serious, a crown may be applied to cover a greater area of the tooth. A mold of the affected tooth will be taken to match shape and structure, and an onlay or crown will be cemented to the area.
- Removal: If a tooth has been broken by decay, or if the damage is bad enough, your provider may recommend complete removal of the tooth. This prevents infection and will, in the long term, reduce pain and discomfort.
If you have a tooth removed, you may elect to get an implanted tooth which is a synthetic tooth that is put in place of the removed tooth.