The incidents of teeth getting chipped, cracked or broken are extremely common. Biting hard on ice, injury to teeth while playing contact sports or excessive wear and tear, the reasons are many. Damage to teeth is a common occurrence.
Difference Between a Chipped, Cracked or Broken Tooth
When you chip your tooth, you may not experience any pain at all. However, if the chip is large enough to expose the inner layer of the tooth, you may feel pain since the nerves are exposed. Minor chips can be treated with dental fillings, but major chips may require dental crowns.
When a tooth is cracked, it may or may not be limited to the enamel of the tooth. It may be a surface crack or a fracture of the whole tooth. Consumption of hot or cold food or drinks may cause pain. Minor cracked tooth repair involves a crown or filling, but if the nerves or other tissues are damaged, a root canal may be prescribed.
Broken tooth is a more serious condition. If the pointed chewing surfaces of the teeth are broken, it may not cause pain. However, deep breaks will certainly lead to sensitivity or pain and even bleeding sometimes. A root canal is prescribed in such cases followed by a dental crown treatment to restore the broken tooth.
What are the Causes of Cracked, Chipped or Broken Teeth?
Teeth may chip, crack or break due to:
Excessive force used to bite on hard foods like ice or candy
Accidents in which a forceful blow is caused to the mouth
Severe teeth grinding while sleeping
Injury to mouth while playing contact sports without a mouth guard
What Immediate Steps Should You Take if You Chip, Crack or Break a Tooth?
In case you chip, crack or break your tooth, here’s what you need to do immediately:
- Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
- Put a cold compress on the outer side of the mouth near the affected area to reduce swelling.
- In case you have the piece of chipped, cracked or broken tooth, wrap it in wet gauze and bring it to your dentist.
- If you lose your tooth, wash it with water and place it a glass of milk, water or saline solution and try to reach your dentist within half an hour.
How to Fix Chipped Tooth, Broken or Damaged Tooth?
The following treatments are prescribed for chipped, cracked, broken or damaged tooth/teeth:
Dental Cap or Crown
Dental crowns or caps are porcelain covers that wrap the entire tooth. This is the best method for a huge broken piece of tooth. It can fix your smile, preventing damage caused by exposed nerves. Your teeth are fixed within two visits that consists of creating molds and cementing crowns.
Dental Bonding or Filling
Dental filling or bonding is used to repair a small, chipped piece of your enamel by placing a tooth-colored composite resin. The dentist roughens the tooth surface with a gel or liquid, making the bonding material stick. Later, the tooth-colored resin is applied with an adhesive. The dentist molds the material into your teeth’s shape. Lastly, ultraviolet light is used to harden the material.
If you have a severe chip or damage in your tooth, dental veneers are preferred. In this process, a porcelain cover is placed on your damaged tooth. It creates a smooth and natural look. The dentist may place one or more than one veneer over the chipped tooth, giving you a natural smile.
Root Canal Therapy
A root canal is done when only the roof of your teeth is hanging with most of your tooth chipped off. This process involves placing a pin on your tooth to build a structure for a temporary crown. Later, the temporary crown is replaced by cementing a permanent crown.
How Should you Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth Yourself?
It is advisable that you contact your dentist immediately if you have a chipped, cracked or broken tooth. However, till you reach your dentist, these self-care tips can help prevent more damage and reduce pain:
- If the temporary dental filling material has come off, place sugar-free gum or dental wax over the exposed sharp end to protect gums and tongue
- Take an anti-inflammatory painkiller like Advil or Ibuprofen if you have pain
- With a cotton swab swipe some clove oil around the painful or swollen area
- If any food particles are caught between the damaged teeth, it can put excess pressure on that tooth thus resulting in more damage. Hence it’s important to remove the stuck food particles by carefully flossing them out
- Keep an ice pack on the outside of your mouth near the affected area to relieve pain if any
- In case you have to wait overnight to see your dentist and have the habit of teeth grinding, wear a mouth guard
Get in touch with us at Coral Dental Care in case you have a chipped, cracked or broken tooth or teeth. Our team of experts is dedicated to provide you exceptional dental care.
Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. Dr. Isaac strives for quality on a daily basis and this commitment to quality is reflected in her constant pursuit of advanced training. Her firm belief that even experts need to stay updated about what’s new in the dental field, enables her to provide every patient with optimal oral care. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health,recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.