Nothing is more likely to keep you from flashing your smile than when you suffer from broken or missing teeth. And while teeth tend to be very strong as a rule, they can chip, crack, or even break under certain circumstances…usually due to some heavy impact to the mouth, or even biting down on something very hard. When this happens, it can be embarrassing….and…it can be anything from physically uncomfortable to downright painful!
The key is understanding the differences. A crack or fracture may go unnoticed, or not seem relevant enough to tend to. But, while you’re letting it go, plaque or bacteria may be making their way into that damage and cause much greater damage than the actual crack or fracture itself, threatening the entire health of the tooth. If you find you have cracks, you should get them examined right away. Depending on the extent of damage, we can either apply a sealant to protect your tooth, or use fillings or crowns to repair your already damaged tooth. If the crack works its way down to the root of your tooth…it may require even greater and more invasive procedures, and it’s certainly likely to cause you a great deal of pain. That’s why it’s important to act as quickly as you can, and to have regular checkups to catch issues early.
A broken tooth is a more serious matter. Depending on the size of the chip or break, you may experience mild to severe pain, depending on whether the break exposes the dentin or nerve of your tooth to air, saliva, and other elements. Broken teeth may require crowns, or veneers and replacements. If your tooth is broken due to force, and that force damages or destroys the healthy nerve, the right answer for you might be a root canal or implant supported crown. The sooner you tend to the broken tooth, the more further damage we can prevent. Treating a broken or cracked tooth quickly is the best way to handle the pain and cosmetic management that such an issue may cause.
Lastly, if you DO break a tooth, do everything you can to save the broken piece to bring to our dental office. Take the appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to begin to manage any pain, and rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to clean the tooth and surrounding areas. The last thing you want is an infection setting in and causing even more damage, including the possibility of losing the remaining tooth. And here’s a tip: if the break leaves a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of sugarless chewing gum to hold you over on your way to an emergency dental visit so you don’t cut your tongue or gums.
If, for whatever reason, you no longer have a tooth where one belongs, a new tooth can easily be added with an implant, and restored to full function with an implant supported crown. An oral surgeon or a periodontist will examine and evaluate whether you are a candidate for dental implants to replace missing teeth. Missing teeth can make chewing and digestion difficult, and can, over time, throw off your bite. Teeth left behind may shift or tilt into spaces they were not meant for.
Here’s the good news…there’s no need to go without having a mouth full of beautiful teeth. Breaks and chips happen…bring that smile back by seeing your dentist right away should these accidents ever happen to you!