Springfield, MO – Have you broken or chipped a tooth, but decided that because it didn’t hurt, you weren’t going to worry about repairing it? Even if you have a broken tooth with no pain, you could be setting yourself up for more extensive dental work in the future. The dentists at Ozark’s Excel Dental explain.
“It’s something we see often,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “A tooth gets broken, but it doesn’t hurt right away, so the patient just ignores it. But by the time it does start to bother you, infection could have set in, or it could now be unable to be restored.”
Chipped and broken teeth are relatively common, especially if the tooth already has some decay in it. Injuries to the tooth can occur from getting hit in the face or falling, or simply from biting down on something hard. But chipped tooth repair for the broken tooth, even if you have no pain, is important fo your dental care to ensure you don’t lose the entire tooth.
Until you can get to your family dentistry office, there are some things you can do to ease any pain or discomfort that might be associated with the tooth. Rinse your mouth with salt water and take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if needed. If the break has left a sharp edge that you fear could injure your mouth, cover the tooth with a piece of dental wax. Sugar-free gum can also work in a pinch. Eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the tooth until you can get to your dentist’s office.
“How we treat broken and chipped tooth repairs depends on the severity of the damage,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “Small chips and breaks or cracks might be able to be repaired with dental bonding or even a filling, but large breaks will most likely require a dental crown.”
If you’re only missing a small piece of your enamel, a filling can be used to repair it. If the crack is to a front tooth sometimes your dentist will bond your tooth.
“Tooth bonding is a quick and easy procedure,” says Dr. Tracy Davis. “First, we’ll slightly roughen the surface of the tooth so the bonding material will be able to adhere. Then, an adhesive is applied, followed by the bonding material. It will then be shaped to look like your natural tooth.”
Some broken teeth will require a dental cap or crown to repair and restore tooth function. This is especially true in cases where there is a lot of decay. Your dentist will file the remaining tooth down, then cover it with a crown or cap. They can be made from metal, porcelain, resin or ceramic. An all-metal crown will provide the most strength, but a porcelain or resin crown will look almost exactly like a natural tooth.
“In some cases, we may need to perform a root canal,” says Dr. Nick Matthews. “This will need to occur if the fracture has involved the root or nerve of the tooth. We’ll perform a root canal and build up a structure to which we can put a crown on.”
Veneers are also an option for broken or chipped teeth. A veneer is a thin, tooth colored material , made of porcelain or resin, that is placed over the entire front of the tooth.
Only a dentist will be able to tell if your injury has caused damage to the root or if there is risk for infection. Infection can occur if the break is large enough to expose the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is the area of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels. If the bacteria that enters your mouth makes its way to the pulp infection can set it.
The pulp tissue can die, and if it isn’t treated, tooth pain can remain or the tooth may need to be removed. To treat the tooth, a patient will need to undergo root canal therapy to remove the infected tissue and seal it. If your tooth hurts, changes color or becomes sensitive to heat, you may have damaged the pulp of the tooth.
If you’ve broken or chipped a tooth, even if you have no pain, call your dentist today to schedule an appointment for your chipped tooth repair before further damage can set in.