Solutions for chipped and broken teeth

Although our teeth are incredibly strong, sometimes we suffer chipped, cracked or broken teeth due to various unforeseen circumstances, as well as due to wear over a long period of time. This may make you feel self-conscious about your appearance, but rest assured that there’s plenty that can be done to fix chipped, cracked or broken teeth. The good news also is that at Portman Dental Care, we don’t believe that finances should be a barrier to exceptional patient care, which is why we offer 0% finance (subject to status and affordability).

        What causes chips, cracks or breaks to teeth?

        • Facial trauma following an accident
        • Damage from sports incidents
        • Untreated cavities, which can cause a tooth to become brittle and break
        • Old, large fillings where the remaining structure of the natural tooth can become weaker over a period of time
        • Thinning of enamel due to tooth surface loss (such as acid erosion)
        • Eating something hard, although this usually only happens if cracks already exist, the tooth is worn or weak
        • Multiple chips and cracks are often due to long-term clenching or grinding (bruxism), which is very common and often occurs whilst asleep

        You may not experience immediate pain if your tooth is broken. You may experience occasional discomfort when chewing, or experience sensitivity to extreme temperatures, although this isn’t always the case. Regardless of whether you can feel pain, all breaks should be investigated by your dentist as soon as possible in order to ensure that the tooth is healthy and discuss any necessary treatment to prevent further issues or problems.

          How to treat chipped and broken teeth

          If your tooth or teeth have small chips on the edges, particularly chipped front teeth, that don’t cause pain or issues, your dentist might recommend a small repair by smoothing the edge or repairing with a tooth-coloured filling, which prevents the rough edge from cutting or damaging your lips or tongue, as well as restoring the appearance of the tooth. This is known as composite bonding.

          If your teeth have suffered a serious fracture or break then you may require a more complicated treatment as it may be caused by a cavity or crack. Large cavities that cause chips, breaks or fractures can become extremely painful, as well as cause infections if they are left untreated. In cases like these, root canal treatment might be required. However if there is no pain or infection, simple cracks can often be filled and bound together with a composite resin, or repaired, while a broken tooth may be fixed with a crown.

          Dental crowns can be used as part of the treatment for other type of breaks or splits, such as broken cusps or vertical cracks and fractured molars. They are sometimes used as a precaution to reduce the chance of further cracks.

          Unfortunately if your tooth has decayed from the inside-out or completely fractured vertically, making it irrevocably broken, your dentist may recommend that your tooth is removed as a final solution. This is why it is a good idea to see your dentist as soon as you notice or experience any chips, breaks or cracks.  No matter how minor you may think the situation is, it’s important for maintaining good oral health to have any abnormalities investigated as soon as possible. Any damage can lead to an increased risk of infections or further deterioration, so it is important to receive treatment as soon as possible to reduce the chance of developing problems.

          Multiple chips and cracks due to clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism) may require other treatment to prevent further wear and tear, such as the wearing of a splint or ‘night guard’.

            What should I do if I break a tooth?

            If you fracture or break a tooth, follow the below steps straight away and book an appointment as soon as possible with your dentist. Small chips don’t tend to require urgent attention, but should be checked. An emergency appointment will only be necessary if you are in severe pain or bleeding from trauma.

            • Call your practice to request to see your dentist as soon as possible
            • If the tooth is sharp, cutting your mouth, extremely painful or bleeding from trauma, let the person on the phone know so that you can be seen as an emergency appointment
            • If you are in pain, you can manage this with over the counter painkillers in the short term. If the pain is too severe to manage until you see your dentist, then request an emergency appointment.
            • If your tooth is knocked out completely by trauma, put it back in to the socket or put in milk and see a dentist immediately. By contrast, don’t ever put a baby tooth back into the socket and still seek out a dentist appointment immediately (if lost by trauma).

                When it comes to chips or cracks to teeth, Portman Dental Care’s Director of Dentistry, Catherine Tannahill, uses a ‘windscreen’ analogy; “if you car windscreen has a small chip or crack, it might be okay to carry on driving for a little while, but over time the strength of the windscreen will deteriorate and eventually it will shatter, often unexpectedly and very inconveniently. When your tooth suffers a crack or chip, like a windscreen crack, it is better to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid potential future catastrophic damage”.

                Make an appointment to see your Portman dentist as soon as possible so that they can plan the best course of treatment to repair broken teeth, which might be one or a combination of fillings, crowns and root canal treatments.

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