Chipped or Broken Tooth Treatment and Repair
It’s best to get to your Markham dentist as soon as possible if your tooth breaks or gets chipped. It’s not that it is necessarily a dental emergency, but the sooner you do, the easier it will be for your dentist to take steps to repair the tooth successfully.
It will also reduce the chances of your tooth being damaged further or becoming infected, which could start a chain of oral health problems.
Saving the Pieces
If you have the piece that broke off, your dentist may be able to re-attach it, provided you keep it fresh till you get there. If you have a glass of milk at hand, pop the broken piece into it and leave it there to stay moist.
The calcium in the milk should keep it alive and strong until it can be re-attached. No milk at hand? Perhaps try tucking the piece into your gum. Just make sure not to swallow it.
While waiting to get a chance to see the dentist, take pain killers if you need to, and try to avoid cutting your cheeks or tongue with the sharp edges of the damaged tooth. Also, try not to bite down directly on the broken tooth for fear of breaking it still further.
What Causes Teeth to Chip or Break?
- Falling, an accident or facial injury
- Contact sport
- Tooth grinding
- Biting down on something hard, or too tough to chew
- Untreated decay that weakens the tooth
- A sugary, acid-producing diet
- Using your teeth as tools to open bottles, cut the thread or do anything other than what they are designed to do, and that’s biting and chewing your food.
- Large and old fillings which have fallen out or allowed decay to start under them.
Treatment for Broken and Chipped Teeth
If the chip is very minor, you may be lucky enough to get away with your dentist smoothing and polishing it. However, if the damage is too much for that solution, your dentist will start looking at patching, attaching and rebuilding the tooth, starting with the possibility of using a filling to do the job and working up the ranks in terms of strength of procedure according to the amount of damage that has been done.
Bonding and Veneers
Both bonding and veneers are commonly used for repair work when the chip is fairly small and can easily be covered. Neither would be suitable for repairing teeth that have sustained major damage.
Bonding is done by moulding and shaping a lump of putty-like composite that’s been coloured to match your teeth, and attaching it to the chipped tooth after the surface has been roughened and covered with a bonding liquid. It’s then allowed to dry and harden before being smoothed and polished.
Longer lasting than bonding, porcelain veneers are hard shell-like pieces of resin or porcelain that are shaped and coloured to fit your teeth, and then attached permanently to the front of the tooth to hide chips and cracks.
Caps or crowns
These come to the rescue where veneers and bonding can’t. If there’s a lot of damage the dentist will probably recommend them as the best option provided there is still enough of the original tooth to support the cap or crown it is going to have to wear from then on in. Made from resin, ceramic or metal, or a combination of these materials, these toothy headgears provide a long-lasting option when attached to the remains of your tooth with posts.
If not enough of your tooth remains to support a crown, the dentist may suggest giving you a dental implant, an artificial tooth which is attached to the bone in the root area of your gum with posts. An implant is the strongest, most natural-looking and longest-lasting repair option.
Root Canal Therapy
If the tooth has broken off low enough down to expose the pulp at its centre which houses the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth, it might be damaged or become infected if left untreated. It may become painful, change colour and be very heat sensitive. If this happens, it may be necessary for you to undergo a root canal procedure.
The only way to know which is going to be the best option for repairing your chipped or broken tooth is to consult your dentist. And for it to be successful, it’s best to make that visit to the dentist as soon as possible.