If you break a tooth, see your dentist right away. Prompt dental attention and care will help prevent further damage or an infection, which can cause you to lose the tooth. Your dentist will be able to tell if your tooth can be saved or what can be done to repair your tooth.
Causes – There are several causes of broken tooth and other dental injuries. One of the most common causes of broken tooth and dental injuries is untreated dental decay. Broken tooth can also be caused by assaults, accidents or crooked teeth. Tooth that has undergone root canal procedure and has not received a crown can easily break as well. Other causes of tooth broken tooth include chewing or biting on unusually hard substances, grinding of teeth, or extremely forceful clenching of teeth.
Self-care Measures – In the meantime, rinse your mouth with warm water and take an over-the-counter pain medicine. If there is a jagged or sharp edge on the tooth, use a piece of chewing gum (sugarless) or wax paraffin to cover it. This will prevent it from cutting your cheek, tongue or the inside of your lip. If you must eat, make sure the food is soft.
Treatment – This will depend on the severity of the damage. Your dentist will evaluate your situation, and let you know whether saving your tooth is worth the investment. If only a small damage is done to the tooth, the repair can be completed in one office visit. For a broken or badly damaged tooth a more lengthy procedure may be required. Here are some ways a dentist may repair a broken tooth.
Bonding – This simple procedure typically is performed without requiring numbing the tooth. The dentist simply etches the surface with a gel or liquid to roughen it so that the bonding material will adhere to it easily. Next, an adhesive material is applied to the tooth, and the bonding material is then applied. The bonding material is then shaped to make the tooth look natural, and an ultraviolet light is applied to harden the material.
Filling – Dental filling is used if only a small piece of tooth is chipped off. If the repair is done to a front tooth, your will likely use bonding, a procedure that involves the use of a composite resin.
Dental Veneers – This is used to replace the broke part of a front tooth to make it look whole again. The procedure is completed in several office visits and involves the use of resin composite material or tooth-colored porcelain that covers the entire front of the tooth.
Dental Crown or Cap – If a large part of tooth breaks off, your dentist may file away or grind part of the remaining tooth, then cover it with a tooth-shaped cap, or crown, designed to provide protection and improve the appearance of the tooth.
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