24 Hour Emergency Dentist Hotline
0203 750 5307
Please fill in all fields
Your message has been sent successfully!

Treatment of broken teeth

Have you ever chomped on something hard while eating – bit of crackling on that succulent piece of prime pork, for example – and felt your tooth break?

If so, you may be consoled to know that there are many people who have suffered the same experience. It is one of the most common causes of such a fracture.

Those involved in contact sport run the risk of breaking a tooth too– or even, in more severe cases, having a tooth knocked out. Or you may have tripped on an uneven surface, fallen, landed on your face and done some dental damage that requires attention.

In some instances fractured teeth can be the result of decay, which, if left unchecked, can weaken the tooth and therefore cause it to crack or even break, and that would probably mean extraction.

There are, as you will note, quite a few ways in which a tooth can be broken and often it is without warning. You are totally unprepared for what happens. But there you are, nursing a broken tooth and maybe unsure as to what exactly to do about it.

What should you do if you think you have broken a tooth?

The first thing, if you are in pain, as is likely – either to a larger or lesser degree depending upon the severity of the damage – you should take a pain-killer of the type that you can buy over the counter. If the pain spreads to your cheek or your jaw – or both – a cold compress will probably help to give you additional relief.

This done, you should then make every effort to have emergency dental treatment as quickly as possible, and we at the Pearl Dental Clinic are always available in such situations.

A further tip. If you still have the part of the tooth that has broken off – especially if it is quite large – then take it with you to your appointment. With a little bit of luck your dentist will be able to cement it back in place.

What action will the dentist take?

If it is a bad fracture it is probable that the dentist will crown the tooth and all will be well. The real problem arises if there is already decay. This could mean root canal treatment, a phrase which sends a shiver down many a spine. It involves drilling into the tooth to reach the infection, then scraping out the diseased pulp by way of the root canal.

This results in the tooth becoming dead to all intents and purposes because there are no longer any nerve endings and no blood supply, but it is not beyond repair. We at Pearl Dental Clinic are experts at this kind of treatment. What we do is fill the new space with neutral matter and then cap or crown the tooth in just the same way as if it was a healthy one.

Unfortunately, it may not be possible to save the tooth if the roots are damaged or split. In that case extraction would be the only course of action. That would relieve the pain and stop the spread of the infection.

How you can avoid a broken tooth caused by decay

Decay can play a deadly part in weakening a tooth so that it is far more susceptible to a fracture. The process develops in the following stages:

  • Plaque builds up on the teeth
  • Plaque contains bacteria
  • Bacteria reacts with sugary foods and carbohydrates to form acid
  • Acid erodes the enamel on the teeth
  • Cavities form which weaken the tooth
  • The tooth is therefore more likely to fracture.

Yet you can avoid all these horrors by maintaining a high standard of oral hygiene. Just a few minutes morning and night should be sufficient to combat the build-up of plaque and stop cavities from forming. You should also pay a regular visit to your dentist, who will be able to spot any cavities that do form and fill them in before decay becomes a problem.

Fractures which do not give undue cause for concern

There are some so-called fractures that are nothing much to worry about – a cracked tooth, for example. A lot of people have surface cracks in the enamel of a tooth or two, but they do not cause any pain and there is no need for treatment. Just maintain your regular check-ups and this will ensure that the cracks do not get bigger.

A chipped tooth is another minor consideration, with only cosmetic treatment being necessary, and a broken cusp of the tooth, usually caused by biting on something hard, is also easily repaired. We usually recommend reshaping the tooth or maybe fitting a crown.

More serious problems

We have mentioned surface cracks, which are quite common and pose no real threat, but deeper cracks need to be treated as soon as possible, so, again, if you are in Kingston, Putney or South West London, drop in to see us so that we can spot the early signs and do something about it before the rot really sets in.

If your tooth is badly broken the nerve endings and blood supply will probably be affected, causing considerable pain, and root canal treatment will therefore be necessary. Then the damaged tooth will require a cap or crown to prevent further deterioration.

Finally, there is the split tooth, which more than likely will mean that both the roots and the crown are damaged and there is a strong possibility of infection, leading to severe toothache. In some instances it may be possible to undertake a repair by means of a crown, but in more severe cases the only remedy is to have the tooth extracted.