Less common than a tooth ache but a fractured or chipped off tooth is quite a common reason for someone rushing to a dentist.
There is always a fear of having to lose a tooth when it breaks. Especially if it’s the front tooth, the emotional trauma of having to lose the tooth can be even worse than a tooth ache for some.
Fortunately, thanks to modern dentistry there is often a procedure to repair the damage and restore the tooth to its natural form, function and aesthetics.
Well, when you see your dentist depending on the extent and nature of fracture, various treatment options may be offered.
The dentist might need to take an X-ray to determine the state of the root and any corresponding secondary damage. Also needed would be a series of vitality checks for the tooth to determine the state of the nerve within.
For instance, if it’s only a minor chip not involving a great amount of tooth damage, it can be built up to its original form with composites which are tooth coloured filling materials. The vast availability of shades and tints will allow your dentist to create a natural result.
The tooth can be veneered to restore a moderately fractured tooth, without nerve damage though. For veneers the tooth is slightly roughened/prepared and an impression taken to be sent to the dental laboratory, which then fabricates a veneer to be cemented in place by the dentist on the next visit.
Alternatively, the tooth might need crowning depending on the extent of fracture and the remaining tooth structure. Again this is a two visit procedure as laboratory work is involved.
With both veneer and crown the tooth is given a temporary chair-side restoration until the final laboratory fabricated permanent veneer/crown is fitted.
It might be that the nerve within the tooth is damaged, dying or dead, in which case the tooth will need to be root filled before crowning.
Also at times it can be difficult to determine the vitality status of a damaged tooth. The dentist in such a scenario might suggest to proceed with the restoration and consider root canal treatment at a later stage if need arises.
Similarly if it’s the back tooth which is broken it can be restored by filling (amalgam or composite) , inlay or crown depending on the extent of damage.
An inlay is a lab fabricated filling which fits within the tooth, whilst a crown goes over the tooth and covers it.
There is a possibility that the tooth is fractured vertically along its root. In such cases it is usually advisable to extract the tooth and replace it with denture, bridge or implant as suited to the condition.
So…….had a fall, don’t panic!! Go and see your dentist as there are a variety of ways to restore your tooth and cosmetically enhance any damage that has taken place. It is always important to seek qualified professional advice if you have had an accident or are experiencing any tooth discomfort.
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