Imagine you’re sitting down on the couch after a long day with your bowl of popcorn to watch a movie. As you’re contently crunching on buttery morsels and intently watching the movie, you suddenly bite down on a kernel that managed to hide itself in your otherwise fluffy handful of exploded corn. You hear a dreadful crunch that is different than your previous crunching. Upon further inspection, you notice a crack on one of your teeth. Now what?
It is an unfortunate fact that our teeth are not indestructible and can become damaged at some point during our lifetime. Teeth can become damaged for a range of reasons, from biting down onto something hard to being hit in the face while playing sports. Luckily, a broken tooth is not the end of the world and can be easily fixed by your local dentist.
In fact when you crack or chip a tooth, you should call your dentist’s office as soon as possible to arrange an appointment to repair the tooth. You should never ignore a broken tooth because it is structurally compromised and the damage can progress. Additionally, bacteria may be able to enter a damaged tooth, which could result in a painful pulp infection requiring a root canal.
When you visit your dentist for a broken tooth, they may recommend a variety of treatment options depending on the location of the tooth, the type and severity of the damage, and your individual dental needs. While the exact treatment may vary, here is how a broken tooth is fixed by your dentist:
If the damage to the tooth is minimal, dental bonding may be advised. Dental bonding, also known as composite bonding, uses composite resin to repair the damage. This is the same dental material used for composite fillings and is most commonly used to repair chips and superficial cracks.
Another method of repairing a broken tooth is a dental crown. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over the natural tooth in order to protect the tooth. Dental crowns may be used in cases where a significant amount of the tooth’s natural structure has been chipped off or if there is a deep crack in the tooth. Having a dental crown placed will protect the tooth from further damage and prevent bacteria from entering the tooth. Additionally, it will restore the shape of the broken tooth to ensure the bite or alignment of the surrounding teeth is not affected.
Although many people think of veneers as being purely a cosmetic dental treatment, there are certain cases where they may be used to fix a broken tooth. Veneers are thin shells that are cemented to the front surface of natural teeth. These thin shells can repair superficial tooth damage and restore the aesthetics of one’s smile. For example, veneers may be used to repair a chipped tooth or to restore the shape of a tooth who has parts that have broken off.
While nobody wants to have a broken tooth, it is reassuring to know that if it happens your dentist has you covered. However, how a broken tooth is fixed will depend on the individual case and your specific treatment plan may deviate from those mentioned above. Nevertheless, your dentist will work to restore both the function and look of a broken tooth so that you’ll be smiling again in no time.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.