Cracked Tooth: 5 Methods for Treating a Broken Tooth
A cracked tooth can result from chewing on hard foods, grinding your teeth at night, and can even occur naturally as you age. It’s a common condition and the leading cause of tooth loss in industrialized nations.
Causes of a cracked tooth
Teeth crack because of a variety of issues, including:
pressure from teeth grinding
fillings so large they weaken the integrity of the tooth
chewing or biting hard foods, such as ice, nuts, or hard candy
blows to the mouth, such as might happen with a car accident, sporting injury, fall, or even a fistfight
abrupt changes in temperature in the mouth — for instance, from eat something extremely hot and then trying to cool your mouth with ice water
age, with most teeth cracks occurring in people over 50
Broken Tooth Treatments
1. Ceramic dental filling
In order to strengthen the tooth, we may need to apply a ceramic filling to the tooth. This option restores approximately 98 percent of the tooth's strength to its natural state. In some cases, professionals can accomplish this procedure with CEREC technology available in one sitting. Thus, people can fix a broken tooth in one visit.
Professionals may also use ceramic inlays or crowns after making them in a laboratory when the situation requires more resistant materials in thin layers (gold or zircon) or when the aesthetic considerations require the collaboration of a laboratory technician. In these cases, the professional will need to install a temporary restoration at the first appointment and install the final restoration at another visit two to three weeks later.
2. Dental bonding
If the surface of the affected vital part is small, the dentist may attempt to put a sedative bandage on the exposed part of the pulp. In some cases, it is possible to note a scarring of the pulp and a complete cure.
While waiting for the evolution of the situation, your dentist might choose to put a temporary filling, to rebuild the tooth.
3. Root canal
If a large area of the pulp is affected or there is a lot of pain associated with the broken tooth, it might be necessary to perform a root canal. This treatment consists of keeping the solid shell of the natural tooth and removing the soft part pulp inside. If the remaining structure of the tooth and its support is in good condition, it is customary to proceed with root canal treatment at this stage.
4. Dental Crowns
After completing a root canal treatment and addressing the pain, a dental professional might elect to protect the tooth with a crown. Crowns cover broken teeth and are useful when the integrity of the tooth in question is poor.
Depending on the situation, it is possible to manufacture a crown with the CEREC technology during a single visit. Ceramic inlays or crowns from a laboratory are also an option when the situation requires more resistant materials in thin layers (gold or zircon) or when aesthetic considerations require the collaboration of a laboratory technician.
5. Dental Implants
In some situations, the tooth may break below the level of the gum or bone. In the first case, it is possible to adjust the level of the gingiva with a laser directly to the clinic (laser gingivectomy). This procedure allows the dentist to clear the tooth and repair it.
In cases of tooth fracture deep below the gingiva or even up to the bone level, it is possible to remove bone and gum around the tooth to repair it.
If the tooth is broken too far below the gum and bone, it is sometimes necessary to extract it. Dentists usually follow this procedure by the installation of implants.
Saving Broken Tooth
A cracked tooth is a common experience for many. A variety of procedures are available to save the tooth and your appearance.
While a crack can be repaired, a cracked tooth will never be 100 percent healed, unlike a broken bone might be. But prompt treatment offers the best chance of saving your tooth and preventing infection and further damage. And while your mouth may be sore after the treatment, the pain should subside in a few days.
Good dental hygiene, avoiding hard foods, and wearing a mouth guard if you grind your teeth or play contact sports will go far in protecting your smile.