There are numerous causes for a broken tooth, such as trauma caused by a sporting accident or biting into hard food, underlying decay and infection, or a failed dental restoration. The reason for this dental emergency and the type of break can affect how your regular or emergency dentist chooses to treat the tooth and repair the damage.
Before deciding how to fix a broken tooth, an emergency dentist may be required to perform temporary treatment. Then, at a later date, your dentist can perform a permanent treatment best suited to your situation.
Is a Broken Tooth a Dental Emergency?
Unfortunately, a broken tooth rarely occurs just before your regular dental checkup; more often than not, it is a dental emergency. When it comes to a dental emergency, if you are suffering from severe pain, you should always consult your emergency dentist. However, a broken tooth may not cause immediate pain. Does that mean you should wait to make a regular dentist appointment?
The answer is no; even if it does not cause you discomfort, it is crucial to see your emergency dentist after cracking, chipping, or breaking your tooth. The sooner your tooth is seen by a professional, the less damage is likely to be done to the tooth. Leaving a broken tooth exposed and untreated can leave it vulnerable to infection. If the damage reaches the nerve or the tooth becomes sharp, you may damage the soft tissue inside your mouth or may even lose the tooth.
If you have broken a tooth, contact a dentist that can treat you in a dental emergency, such as Radiant Smiles Dental Group. Depending on your circumstances, your emergency dentist may complete treatment immediately or provide you with a temporary solution that ensures the damage does not worsen and stops you from experiencing discomfort.
How to Fix a Broken Tooth: The Most Common Procedures
Several treatments can be used to fix a broken, cracked, or chipped tooth. The treatment your Radiant Smiles dentist suggests depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of the break, which tooth it is, and the general condition of the tooth, surrounding teeth, and gums.
When a dentist decides how to fix a broken tooth, they typically use one of the following common procedures:
Fillings and Bonding
If you have a minor tooth fracture where you have just damaged the enamel, you may only need a minor filling. For broken front teeth, dentists often use a process called dental bonding.
This involves using a tooth-coloured composite resin adhered directly to a chemically roughened tooth. The resin is then shaped to match the natural tooth structure and hardening the material with ultraviolet light. The resin is then polished to blend in with your other teeth.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is typically used for teeth that are broken due to severe tooth decay rather than trauma. Often in these cases, there is an infection that has reached the tooth’s pulp chamber weakening the tooth’s structure, leaving it brittle and vulnerable to cracks or breakage.
The root canal treatment is completed under local anaesthetic. When performing the procedure, your dentist removes all the infected pulp from the root canal system before shaping the root canals, flushing them with an antibacterial solution, and filling the cavity with a natural latex material, called gutta-percha.
Your emergency dentist may then seal the affected tooth with a temporary filling, and you’ll need to return no more than 30 days later to have a permanent filling or crown placed over the top of the damaged tooth.
Dental crowns are a cap that is fitted over a natural tooth and are commonly used to fix severely broken teeth or where there is a lot of decay present. Dental crowns are often used in conjunction with root canal treatment. After preparing the broken tooth, your dentist will fit a crown that has been custom-made for your tooth.
Dental crowns can be made from porcelain, metal, resin, or ceramic, each having its own benefits. Your crown is made to fit your tooth perfectly and looks just like a natural tooth. Having a dental crown fitted usually takes two dental appointments, in between which you will wear a temporary crown.
Dental Implants and Bridges
If you have a dental emergency where your tooth is too badly damaged to save, it may have to be removed. Rather than having a gap in your teeth, your broken tooth can be replaced by a dental implant or bridge.
A dental implant is where a metal post is inserted into the jawbone to create a sturdy artificial root for a crown. A dental bridge is a cost-effective treatment where an artificial tooth is attached to the other teeth on each side.
Both dental implants and bridges provide patients with a realistic, durable tooth replacement. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks, which your dentist can talk you through.
Avoid Broken Teeth With Preventative Action
A broken tooth is a dental emergency. However, broken teeth are a very common problem that both regular and emergency dentists see regularly. Not only will your dentist know how to fix a broken tooth, but they will also be able to explain the procedures to you and why they believe one method is better than another for you.
If you break a tooth, it is crucial that you visit a regular or emergency dentist as soon as possible for treatment. However, there are also steps you can take to avoid suffering from this dental emergency in the first place, such as wearing a mouthguard, avoiding hard foods, maintaining good oral hygiene, and having regular dental checkups.
At Radiant Smiles Dental Group, our friendly, experienced staff is always happy to give you advice about how to best look after your teeth, as well as offering you top-quality dental treatment, even in an emergency.
If you have a dental emergency contact us today on (03) 9000 0537.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.