How to Restore Damaged Teeth
You’re biting down on your favorite candy or ice block when you notice a hard substance in your mouth that doesn’t break. The feeling of realizing afterward that it was a piece of a broken tooth is quite sickening.
The tooth enamel is among the hardest and most mineralized body tissue, yet it has its limits. Certain activities such as falling, receiving a hard blow in the face, or biting hard on hard food like bones and candy can cause the tooth enamel to break. If you have underlying tooth decay, your tooth enamel can also be more susceptible to breakage or chipping.
Broken teeth are, however, salvageable, so don’t panic. Visit Susan J. Curley DDS soonest possible to save your broken tooth.
Caring for a Broken or Chipped Tooth
As soon as you realize a broken tooth, see an emergency dentist. If the situation is not so severe, you can wait till the next day and see your general dentist for further instructions. Waiting further can cause more damage, which leads to infection on the teeth and can cause you to lose your tooth.
In the meantime, you can follow these self-care measures.
- If there is pain in the tooth, use acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain medications. Rinse using saltwater.
- If the chip causes a sharp edge on the tooth, try covering it using wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum. This will prevent it from cutting your tongue, inner lip, or cheek.
- Must you eat, incorporate soft foods, and try not to bite down on the damaged tooth.
Treatment for damaged teeth depends on how severe the damage is. If the enamel has only small chipping, fixing it is usually straightforward and will require only one dental visit. Badly damaged tooth enamel will need a lengthier and costlier process.
Here are a few ways your dentist will repair a broken tooth.
When thinking of ways to repair your broken or chipped tooth, fillings always come to mind as the first option. It’s generally the most common form of restorative dentistry. Fillings treatment is not meant to repair or replace the entire tooth but is sure to repair damage caused by tooth decay.
There are several motions for tooth fillings, grouped according to the material used. Silver/ amalgam fillings have long been the most common for their affordability, durability, and ease of application. Their drawback is that they are visible even from outside.
Composite resins and porcelain fillings are not as durable as amalgam fillings but have the tooth color, so they aren’t visible on the tooth.
Bonding is an instant option for repairing broken and chipped teeth. The process involves applying a composite resin on the damaged site, then shaping it until it corrects the damaged tooth. Dentists can use tooth bonding to restore a broken-off piece of tooth or use it to fill a crack or chipping.
An advantage of dental bonding is that they require only one appointment for treatment. Only a single appointment is required for the correction. There is no waiting for restoration to come from the lab, as is with some forms of cosmetic dentistry.
Bonding and fillings are sufficient to correct smaller teeth issues like small enamel fractures and repair smaller areas of decay. However, when more extensive restorations are needed, a dental crown is necessary.
Dental crowns are typical “caps” that cover the entire part of your tooth above the gum line. Crows are made to perfectly fit on the tooth and match the natural shine of the tooth. Many people won’t tell you to have an artificial crown unless you choose to share the news.
Crowns are reasonably durable but can last for years when you take good care of them. You shouldn’t bite down on hard food to avoid breaking your crown.
Dentures are meant to repair a completely lost tooth. Depending on the number of teeth lost, you can get a full set, a single denture, or a partial denture. Although they are meant to replace a completely missing tooth, they are designed to be removable; therefore, they aren’t attached to the gums by the root. They are mostly held by pastes or clips.
An advantage of dentures is that they are quite an affordable option for tooth restoration. However, since they are not permanently placed into the gums, they often move around and cause tear and wear to the surrounding teeth, making them uncomfortable. Dentures can also come out while eating.
Think of dental implants as more sophisticated denture siblings. They are costlier than dentures but offer several benefits. Implants serve the purpose of replacing a permanently lost tooth. They use a titanium post embedded into the gum and on the jawbone. A root is placed first, then a crown over the root post.
There are no risks of swallowing an implant since they are permanently rooted. They are also much comfortable as they serve the purpose of regular teeth.