If you’ve ever chipped or broken a tooth, you know that panicked feeling. Maybe it was an injury to the face, or you fell down or bit down on something hard like ice or hard candy, and a tooth chipped or broke completely. If this happens to you, don’t panic, as there are several things your dentist can do to fix it.
Get to your dentist as soon as possible. This is important because you don’t want to cause more damage or an infection in your tooth.
Follow good at-home care of the broken tooth. Until you can be seen by your dentist, take acetaminophen or another over-the-counter pain reliever, if needed. If you eat, avoid biting down on the broken tooth and try to eat only soft foods. If your broken tooth has a sharp edge, covering it with a piece of sugarless gum can keep it from cutting your tongue or lip, or the inside of your cheek.
A filling or bonding may be all that’s needed. Treatment depends on the severity of the damage. If you’ve chipped off a small piece of enamel, the damage could be repaired with bonding, which uses a tooth-colored composite resin. Bonding is commonly used to repair a tooth that is in the front of the mouth or can be seen when you smile.
A dental veneer can cover front teeth that are chipped or broken. A veneer is a thin but strong tooth-colored shell made of porcelain or resin composite material. It is designed to cover the entire front of the affected tooth and blend in with the rest of your teeth for a natural look.
A dental crown may be needed for more significant breaks. For a larger piece of the tooth that breaks, the dentist may grind or file down part of the broken tooth and cover it with a crown. If a break is large enough to expose the center of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels, your dentist may need to perform root canal therapy to save the tooth and protect it with a crown. This tooth-shaped cap protects the remaining tooth. Permanent crowns can be made from several different materials. While all-metal crowns are the strongest, many patients opt for porcelain and resin crowns as they look most like natural teeth.
Teeth that already have decay are more prone to injury and breakage. If you’ve broken a tooth or are concerned about the health of your teeth, call our office today at (501) 843-9561 to be seen as soon as possible and to know your options for repair.