Teeth are remarkably strong, but they can crack and break.
Treatment recommendations will vary depending upon the extent of damage done to the tooth and the nerve inside the tooth. If you have a broken tooth the following treatments may be recommended
Severely damaged teeth may not be able to be saved and will have to be removed. This creates a new problem — that of a missing tooth (Dental Implants).
What causes a tooth to break?
- Biting down on something hard
- Trauma to the face or mouth
- Having cavities that weaken the tooth
When a tooth chips or break it will not necessarily be painful. Minor tooth fractures may not cause any pain. If however you break a large piece of tooth away, it can hurt. This is because the nerve inside the tooth may be damaged as well. If it is exposed to air, or hot or cold foods or drinks it can be especially uncomfortable. Pain from a broken tooth may be constant or may come and go. Many people experience pain when they chew and put pressure on the tooth.
There is no home remedy for a cracked tooth. You need to see your dentist. Sometimes the tooth may look fine but be sensitive to hot or cold drinks or food. If your tooth hurts all the time, it may have a damaged nerve or blood vessels. This is a serious warning sign.
If you have a broken tooth you need to call Dr Mark Peddey’s dental surgery as soon as possible. Dr Peddey can diagnose the cause of the break and if the nerve is in any danger. A damaged nerve will normally require root canal treatment.
There are several types of tooth fractures and breaks. It is important that the correct diagnosis is made when you break or fracture a tooth because each of these situations requires different treatment.
These surface cracks only affect the tooth enamel. Minor cracks rarely need treatment however Dr Peddey can lightly polish the area and eliminate any rough spots.
This type of fracture involves the whole tooth, from the chewing surfaces all the way down to the nerve. The external part of the tooth may remain intact but the crack gradually spreads. These teeth usually require a crown to strengthen the tooth structure and prevent the crack from getting worse. If the nerve is damaged, you may need a root canal treatment as well.
The breaks affect the pointed chewing surfaces (the cusps) of the teeth. They usually do not affect the nerve and they are unlikely to cause pain. Dr Peddey can repair the damage and restore the natural shape and contours of the tooth. Frequently however, an onlay or crown will be required.
The breaks go deep enough to expose the nerve. They almost always cause the tooth to hurt and be sensitive. Usually the broken part of the tooth will bleed. You will need root canal treatment to remove the exposed nerve and probably a crown to restore the function and aesthetics of the tooth.
This refers to a tooth that has split vertically into two separate parts. Some teeth, such as your back molars have more than one root. It may be possible to keep one of the roots which is then stabilised with a crown. Firstly you will need root canal treatment. Any roots that cannot be kept will be removed. A crown will be required to cover the root and replace the tooth. In some cases when a tooth cannot be saved, the tooth will have to be removed. You will then need to consider with Dr Peddey your options for replacing a missing tooth. Suitable candidates can have an implant placed on this site.
Vertical breaks or split root
These cracks start in the root of the tooth and extend upward toward the chewing surface. These breaks are often painful because the area around the root may be inflamed or infected. In most cases, the tooth will need to be removed.
Decay induced break
In this case, the tooth has broken or crumbled because a cavity weakened the tooth from the inside out. Dr Peddey will evaluate the cavity and recommend the best way to restore your tooth. In some cases, if the decay is extensive and goes down to the bone, the tooth may need to be removed.