Many of us have been there. That moment when we are eating our favorite candy or accidentally bite into our silverware and realize that we have chipped or cracked one or more of our teeth. On occasion, some cavities may also weaken teeth, causing them to break. Chipping a tooth can be painful, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. It is important to make sure you schedule an appointment as soon as possible, as a chipped or cracked tooth can cause further damage and potentially become infected if it isn’t properly treated and taken care of.
There are many ways a broken tooth can be fixed, depending on the severity of the damage.
Dental Filling or Bonding
If you have chipped off a small piece of tooth enamel, you may be able to repair the damage with a filling. If the chip is to your front tooth, you will most likely be able to fix the tooth with a fairly simple procedure called bonding. During this procedure, the tooth is etched to roughen it, which allows the bonding material to stick. Next, adhesive is applied to the tooth, and followed with the bonding material. After shaping, an ultraviolet light is used to harden the material.
Dental Cap or Crown
If your tooth breaks and has a lot of decay, you made need a cap or a crown to cover and protect your damaged tooth. Permanent crowns can be made a few different ways and each type offers its own set of benefits. All-metal crowns are the strongest, while porcelain and resin crowns are designed to look as natural as possible.
Sometimes a front tooth may have been chipped or broken so badly that it is best to cover it with a dental veneer. Dental veneers, otherwise known as porcelain veneers, are paper thin custom shells that are made to cover the surface of your teeth. It masks the damage that has been done and can significantly change your appearance, ultimately creating that perfect smile. Veneers are designed to modify the color, shape, size, and length of your teeth.
If a chip or break is severe enough that it has reached the center of the tooth hitting the nerves and blood vessels, bacteria from the mouth can infect the pulp. A root canal consists of removing the pulp, cleaning the root canal, and sealing it. If you experience any pain, changes in color, or sensitivity to heat, the pulp may be damaged. In some cases, the tissue can die, which will infect the tooth and lead to extraction.
In any case, it is important that you receive the care you need when your tooth has been chipped, cracked, or broken. Call Dr. Ritzau at Shoreline Dental and schedule an appointment to figure out which option is best for you.