Good dental and oral health play a significant role in the general wellness of the body. It is always essential to get a dentist check-up and diagnosis if you have any dental abnormality, whether it's causing trauma or not. A crack or fracture on the enamel might not be painful, but a fracture extending deep in the inner part of the tooth/teeth is painful because of the many nerves in the area. Even the minor chips on the tooth/teeth are risky in the mouth because they have sharp edges that injure the tongue or other tissues when chewing food. A dentist will examine the fracture or crack’s extent to determine the best treatment option to restore your desired dental health. If you have fractured and broken teeth, we invite you to get in touch with Encino Dentist to explore possible remedies to restore your dental health for a happy life.
What Causes Fractured and Broken Teeth?
Teeth enamel is one of the most mineralized and hardest tissues in the body, making it very strong for chewing or biting. However, sometimes the enamel strength has limits, especially when there is a strong external force or impact. For instance, when someone punches you in the face near the mouth area, your teeth can crack/fracture. Here are common causes of teeth fractures and breakages:
- Eating or biting something hard.
- Untreated cavities
- Damage from sports like rugby
The severity of teeth fracture or breakages depend on the condition of the teeth and the type of injury a person endures. Regardless of the way you got a tooth fracture or crack, there is always the need to seek emergency dentistry services to examine the extent of the injury or fracture even if it's not painful at the moment.
What to Do if You’ve Got Fractured and Broken Teeth
Although dentists don’t advise fixing your fractured and broken teeth at home, you might do a few things to decrease the pain and protect the fractured teeth while at home. Below are important steps you can undertake at home to increase the chances of treating your fractured and broken teeth before booking an appointment with your prospective dentist:
- Do not apply any type of painkiller to the gum area near the fractured or broken teeth because some painkillers can burn the gum tissue.
- Clean and floss your mouth with warm water.
- Apply pieces of ice on your cheeks if you are experiencing facial trauma
- Cover the broken teeth with saliva, milk or any saline solution
- Use some gauze to apply pressure on any bleeding area.
- If your tooth has separated from the mouth, you should try to locate it and preserve the tooth/teeth.
- Seek the services of a reliable dentist as soon as possible
Any type of dental problem that requires instant dentist services to restore the teeth or stop bleeding is a dental emergency. To save the fractured and broken teeth, you must contact a reliable expert like Encino Dentist for a thorough diagnosis of the dental problem and treatment.
Ways of Treating Fractured and Broken Teeth
Even if the fractured or broken tooth is not noticeable, there is always the need to seek dentist help for your dental health. Ignorance is not good when it comes to any dental health issue. If a broken tooth is left untreated, bacteria can accumulate on the crack leading to further dental infections. To diagnose the health condition of the teeth and severity of the fracture or break off, the dentist may need to use X-rays. Minor breakages or chips can be treated with just one office appointment, while badly fractured and broken teeth might need more than one dentist appointment. Teeth fractures affecting the inner part of the tooth, also known as “pulp,” require a lengthier treatment procedure such as root canal or extraction. Generally, the following are possible ways of treating fractured and broken teeth:
For minor enamel fractures and break-offs, the dentist will recommend dental filling or bonding. Since the process of dental filling is not complex, you can get your damaged teeth treated with just one office visit. The dental filling does not require numbing of the skin to undertake the procedure. During dental filling, the dentist uses composite resin, which resembles the tooth’s color to fill the fractured and broken teeth gaps. Before applying the teeth colored resin, the dentist will first etch the tooth/teeth surface with a particular gel to make it rough enough for compatibility with bonding materials. After that, the dentist will apply some gum followed by the teeth colored composite resin. The dentist uses ultraviolet (UV) rays to harden the filled composite to complete the dental filling procedure. Fractured teeth filled with tooth-colored composite resin feel and look just like natural teeth, which gives a person the confidence to smile again.
If you have fractured and broken front teeth or any other visible teeth, dental veneers, also known as porcelain veneers, are a perfect remedy for restoring your smile and general oral health. Dental veneers are custom made thin shells resembling teeth color that are attached on the surface of the fractured and broken teeth to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile. There are two types of dental veneers, that is:
- Composite resin veneer
- Porcelain veneer
After a diagnosis of the severity of the teeth damage, a dentist will know the best type of dental veneer to use to treat your fractured and broken teeth. Most dentists will recommend patients use veneers made from porcelain because they are stainless, and they also mimic the appearance of the natural teeth giving you a perfect smile. For the preparation of your permanent crown, the dentist will make an impression of your teeth and mouth. He/she will send it to the laboratory for the preparation of your custom-made veneer to fix on the surface of your fractured and broken teeth. You will be using temporary veneers in the meantime before your custom-made veneers are ready.
After approximately three weeks, your dental veneers will be ready for fixing. Therefore, you must go back to the dentist for the final step of fixing dental veneers. In preparation to mount dental veneers, the dentist will make the enamel surface of the fractured and broken teeth rough and reshape it for compatibility with the dental veneer. After fixing the dental veneer, the dentist will use UV rays to harden the cement holding the veneers.
Getting a dental crown is always a great option when a big piece of the teeth/tooth enamel is fractured or broken. Dental crowns are typically caps/covers that resemble the shape and appearance of the natural teeth/tooth, which a dentist uses it to restore and fix cracked permanently and fractured teeth/tooth. Dental crowns made of steel are strong and durable, capable of serving a person for more than five years. The placement of dental crowns consists of two steps.
During the first consultation with a dentist, he/she will take some X-ray pictures to determine the severity of the tooth root damage and the nature of the surrounding jaw bone. If the tooth roots are not damaged, the dentist will use some anesthesia to numb the gums surrounding the fractured and broken teeth. In preparation for a dental crown placement, the dentist will grind/file away the remaining piece of the fractured/broken teeth completely.
Next, the dentist will make an impression of the teeth to receive dental crowns, which he/she will send to the laboratory for preparation of your permanent dental crown. The final step of dental crown placement takes place after about three weeks. During this step, the dentist will remove the temporary crowns installed during the initial visit and place the custom-made permanent crowns that resemble and feel like natural teeth. Dental crowns protect the inner parts of the fractured and broken teeth from infection and further damage.
When a tooth fracture or crack extends to the tooth/teeth’ pulp chamber or if the teeth roots are weak, the dentist will recommend you undertake a root canal procedure to prevent further infection. When tooth decay or infection reaches the tooth’s inner part containing the pulp, it will destroy the nerves around the area, eventually making the tooth/teeth die. If a tooth dies, it will require a different treatment procedure such as tooth extraction and implant placement. You know you need a root canal therapy if the teeth are sensitive when drinking anything warm or cold. You should seek emergency dental services as soon as possible if you want to save the tooth/teeth. A root canal is a bit more of a process than dental crown placement or dental filling.
Recently, with the advancement of technology, this whole process has become more comfortable and less dreadful. The dentist will drill the fractured/broken teeth’ enamel with modern drilling equipment, which is very precise to clean the root canal and remove the infected or dead pulp, which might lead to further tooth damage and finally extraction. Composite resin or porcelain, which is teeth colored, will then be used to fill the open root canal to prevent bacterial infection. After that, the dentist will place a dental crown/cap to bring back the aesthetic appearance of your smile and further protect the root canal from infection.
Extraction and Dental Implant
Sometimes, a root canal procedure might not be enough to save a fractured or broken tooth/teeth. The tooth/teeth fracture’s depth will determine if this is the right dental treatment procedure for your dental problem. The deeper the fracture/crack, the more likely you might undergo a tooth extraction. If the tooth roots are loose and wiggly, an extraction will be the only option to prevent any possible risk of bacterial infection.
Before a tooth extraction, it is crucial to discuss your medical history with your dentist to prevent any possible drug-related complications during the tooth extraction process. To ease a patient’s anxiety and prevent pain during tooth extraction, the dentist may use anesthesia to numb the gum flesh around the extraction site. For a longer tooth extraction procedure that requires surgery, a dentist can also use sedation methods like nitrogen oxide (laughing gas) to temporarily make a patient unconscious for a smooth and painless tooth extraction. There are two kinds of tooth extraction a dentist can undertake depending on the severity and the extent of the teeth fracture, that is:
- Simple extraction
- Surgical extraction
The recovery period after a tooth extraction will depend on the kind of extraction your dentist undertakes and the patient’s underlying health conditions. A surgical tooth extraction site is likely to take about three to four weeks to heal completely. After its healed, your dentist will recommend installing a dental implant (artificial teeth) to cover up the missing teeth/tooth. A dental implant feels looks and functions just like natural teeth; hence a patient can smile again and chew food comfortably.
When you visit a dentist with fractured and broken teeth, it’s upon him/her to determine the right treatment procedure for your specific dental issue, which will restore your dental and general oral health. Whichever procedure your dentist suggests for treatment of your fractured and broken teeth, you better be sure it is the best remedy for your specific dental issue. After any dental treatment procedure, you must observe some aftercare tips for fast recoveries, such as:
- Avoid consuming hot meals or fluids.
- During the first 24 hours after treatment of your dental problem, you should not rinse your mouth, especially after a root canal or teeth extraction.
- Stick to a special diet of soft foods before recovery of an extraction site or root canal
- Do not smoke tobacco.
- If you experience pain on the cheek near the extraction site, you can numb the skin using ice packs. However, if the pain after dental treatment persists, you should seek an emergency dentist’s services.
Find an Emergency Dentist Near Me
At Encino Dentist, we take every patient's dental issue seriously. Even the minor chips and cracks on the teeth because we know any dental problem can be very alarming and painful, especially a fractured and broken tooth. Furthermore, untreated fractured and broken teeth pose a risk of further infections. Therefore, it’s always wise to have a dentist diagnosis as soon as possible for the best treatment option. Call us at 818-650-0429 to book an appointment with our dentists today.