Despite the very strong layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth they will still suffer cracks, fractures and chips. This can occur if you receive a strong blow to the head, if you have been involved in an accident, if you bite down on something very hard or as a result of a sporting accident. A broken tooth can be extremely painful. A chipped tooth can expose the dentine which is the sensitive part of the tooth or even expose the nerve resulting in severe sensitivity or pain. If you have broken a tooth you should visit your dentist immediately as deep fractures will widen with time with sustained use, making them worse and sometimes harder to treat effectively. In some instances broken teeth do not lead to deep fractures and these may not need immediate treatment. Very small fractures and chips may not be noticeable and may not need any treatment.
Treatment of Broken Teeth.
It is important that you see your dentist quickly. The initial pain and swelling can be temporarily alleviated by using a cold compress, any bleeding can be treated by applying gauze and pressure over the area. The treatment that is necessary depends on the type of breakage that has occurred.
Small Cracks: These rarely need treatment. Sometimes this may require polishing of the tooth to smooth out any visible lines and prevent further damage to the tooth.
Chipped teeth: Very small chips may not need any treatment. Alternatively they may need to be smoothed and polished or sometimes may require a small tooth coloured filling.
Fractured teeth: These are likely to get worse if left untreated. Small fractures may need a filling or inlay/onlay or a crown. Larger fractures usually cause a lot of pain either sporadically when chewing or constantly, this usually requires a root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth.
Cracked teeth: This refers to a crack running from the top of the tooth down towards the nerve. Small cracks can spread gradually over time due to daily wear and tear. If the pulp or nerve endings are damaged then the tooth will require a root canal treatment otherwise the area can be filled and the tooth crowned to make it more stable. Occasionally cracks can extend onto the root surface, this usually means the tooth cannot be restored and needs to be extracted.