Broken Teeth

Cracked and broken teeth can come from a variety of reasons, in a number of different forms. Although they can occur through partaking in sporting activities and unforeseen trips and falls, sometimes the causes of a broken teeth can be attributed to plaque and tooth decay. The plaque and bacteria build-up on the teeth causes acid to erode the enamel of teeth, which will then cause cavities. If these cavities are left to grow bigger than the structure of the tooth can be compromised, making it weaker and more susceptible to cracks.

There are different types of tooth breakages, as highlighted below:

  • Surface cracks - Usually causing no pain, surface cracks can cause no long-standing problems as long as a dentist checks it regularly to ensure it doesn’t worsen. These types are common and are fairly innocuous.
  • Chips - Damage to the enamel that can usually be fixed with bonding or cosmetic procedures, without much sensitivity or pain.
  • Broken cusp - The edge of the biting surface can be chipped when biting down. A crown or reshaping can usually fix this issue.
  • Deep cracks and full breaks - Large cracks can lead to a tooth breaking badly, exposing nerves. Immediate treatment will be required to address bleeding, root canal issues and resulting crowns or fittings needed afterwards.
  • Split teeth - The crown and the roots become split, which can cause severe pain. In extreme cases, the tooth may need to be extracted.

What can you do?

If a tooth is chipped or slightly damaged, then painkillers will be able to relieve the pain until a dentist can be seen. If a tooth breaks off, it is recommended that the broken tooth is kept in cloth or in a glass of milk to protect it. If a dentist is seen quickly the tooth can be reattached. It is always advised that a dentist is seen immediately at the first sign of a crack or chip to avoid larger problems.

What will the dentists do?

The most common option for badly broken teeth is to fix a crown over the tooth, however if infection has already set in then a root canal or even complete tooth extraction may be necessary. In cases where a root canal can be achieved, the dentist will drill and scrape away the pulp inside the tooth removing nerve endings and leaving the tooth dead. The dentist will then fill the tooth and cap it.