Teeth are generally very strong, but they can chip and crack due to any number of reasons. Whether experiencing a broken tooth as a result of mouth injuries, tooth decay, or other factors, there are a variety of options when it comes to fixing the damage. Dental veneers, dental crowns, root canal treatments, and dental bonding can help repair the problems caused by chipped, split, or lost teeth.
Published: January 27, 2021
Last updated: January 27, 2021
Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth are all important reasons to seek immediate dental care. Although not all chipped teeth represent a serious condition, a visit to the dentist's office can help distinguish non-urgent small chips from dangerous tooth chips via X-rays. When a tooth breaks, a minor damaged tooth usually features a small amount of cracked tooth enamel, whereby major mouth injuries can cause tooth loss.
Causes of Chipped Teeth
There are many ways that a person can break a permanent original tooth. When a chip occurs on the chewing surfaces of the flat teeth in the back of the mouth, that means a broken cusp has happened. No matter where the tooth break or crack occurs, a dental professional can help rectify the dental problem and inform you about possible cosmetic dentistry treatment options.
The best method of treating damaged teeth is to prevent dental injuries in the first place, if possible. Craze lines, which are cracks in tooth enamel that are relatively harmless, may also appear because of the following reasons.
These are some of the ways that cracked teeth or a chipped tooth can happen, and habits to avoid:
- Tooth decay and cavities may make the teeth weaker and more susceptible to damage
- Poor dental care that leads to thin tooth enamel and gum disease
- Not wearing a protective mouth guard during rough sports
- Using the teeth to open bottles or as tools
- Chewing on ice or hard candy
- Grinding the teeth
- Nail biting
Signs & Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth
Certain indicators can help you determine if you have a damaged tooth that needs treatment. Of course, making an appointment at a local dental office can confirm the presence of tooth damage. However, certain chips might be so minor that they escape your senses.
Signs such as the following may indicate some sort of problem with a cracked dental filling or broken tooth:
Tooth sensitivity - If you experience sudden pain when drinking beverages of extreme temperatures or while eating hot and cold foods, it may indicate dental problems
A misaligned bite - Discovering that the teeth in your upper and lower jaws no longer seem to fit together like comfortable puzzle pieces when you close your mouth might be indicative of a broken tooth
Sharp edges - Feeling new jagged edges when running your tongue across your teeth - or experiencing cuts on the insides of your cheeks - could mean that you have chipped a tooth
Home Remedies: What to Do About a Broken Tooth
There are times when a cracked toothbecomes apparent, and even if you've already contacted a dental professional, you may not be able to see the dentist right away. In the interim, there are certain actions you can perform to help increase the chances of saving your tooth and preventing further damage while waiting hours or even days to get to the dentist.
Instead of attempting to repair the broken tooth yourself with dangerous and toxic DIY bonding material at home, leave most of the dental repairs to the professionals. In the meantime, while waiting to see a dentist to fix your broken tooth, perform the applicable tasks:
- Swish warm salt water around your mouth to cleanse the area
- Gather any broken tooth fragments and place them in milk or saliva until you visit your dentist's office
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers containing ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help alleviate discomfort
- Cover jagged edges with safe materials such as dental wax, dental cement, or sugar-free gum to help prevent cuts
- Apply pressure to any bleeding portions of the mouth with clean gauze material
- Stay away from eating hard foods and avoid biting nearby the damaged tooth area
- Apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling, but not directly atop the broken tooth or any exposed nerve endings
Treating Chips and Cracks: In Office and At Home
Upon being examined by a dental professional, you will learn about any number of the following options that can help your specific case:
Dental Bonding Dental bonding involves fixing damaged teeth with a plastic resin material that is digitally altered to match the color of the original tooth being repaired. Bonding is not only used to repair chipped teeth but can also be utilized to transform shorter teeth into longer ones or to fill cavities less noticeably than using metal fillings.
Dental Crowns Dental crowns and dental implants are used to strengthen broken teeth or replace lost teeth. While dental crowns fit atop small or split teeth like a little hat, dental implants adhere to crowns that fill empty spaces caused by missing teeth and attach directly to the jaw bone. Both options can help damaged teeth appear more aesthetically pleasing by hiding discolored or cracked teeth.
Veneers Dental veneers are comprised of thin composite resin and tooth-colored materials such as porcelain veneers, which easily cover chipped or stained teeth.
Root Canal According to the American Association of Endodontists, a root canal treatment can help tremendously when a tooth has been damaged or experiences decay. The root canal procedure may help save an original tooth, as well as reduce pain when tooth damage reaches underlying nerves and blood vessels.
A person might choose to have a root canal procedure instead of tooth extraction to save a damaged or broken tooth due to several advantages. Saving a damaged tooth or one that has experienced a bad break allows the patient to resume effective chewing habits with a natural-colored tooth while enjoying all the same biting sensations and force that they are accustomed to having. It can also protect nearby teeth from too much strain by offering the support the tooth was intended to bear before being broken.
Conclusion: Fixing Broken Teeth and Heart Health
When all is said and done, lots of people may experience chipped or broken teeth in their lifetime, but there are many means of having the damage repaired. A dentist can choose to adhere the broken tooth fragment back onto the original tooth, cover it with a dental crown or veneer, perform a root canal treatment, or use filling material to repair the portion of lost enamel.
The critical point is not to ignore a cracked or broken tooth. It isn’t simply a matter of comfort or vanity: a cracked tooth can allow infections to enter the bloodstream via the damaged tooth, which can make their way to the heart since oral health has an impact upon many parts of the body. Therefore, addressing a broken tooth sooner than later can save your life.