Teeth can chip, crack, or fracture for many different reasons. Whether the damage is due to a fall, a sports injury, or just everyday wear and tear, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Leaving it untreated can result in further damage over time. Here, Dr. Richard Rodgers and our Atlanta dental team explore five common treatments for a broken tooth.
If you’ve sustained dental injury and now have a broken tooth, contact our office right away for further instructions. You can call us at 404-577-6620.
The broken tooth treatment recommended for you will depend on the extent of damage. In the sections below, we will discuss what to do for mild, moderate, and severe dental fractures.
Chips, craze lines, and other tiny fractures can compromise tooth structure and detract from a smile. These flaws can be effectively covered up with composite bonding, which can be color-matched to your natural tooth shade. If you have a chipped tooth, bonding can cover up the damage and make the tooth look whole again. In addition to improving the aesthetics of a smile, bonding can also reinforce natural tooth structure.
If the damage is more extensive, but not severe enough to warrant restorative dentistry, a porcelain veneer may be used. This custom shell is bonded onto the front surface of the affected tooth. Made from layers of medical-grade ceramic, a veneer is the closest thing to natural enamel. It can even reflect light in the same way. While one veneer may be all that is necessary, some cases may require more veneers to achieve a balanced, symmetrical appearance.
A large fracture may necessitate a dental crown. Like veneers, crowns are custom-made to conceal damage. Whereas veneers only cover the front surfaces of the teeth, crowns cover the entire structure. This is beneficial when damage is too severe for dental bonding or veneers.
In some instances, your dentist may recommend a partial crown for a broken tooth. Also referred to as an onlay, these restorations fit into the damaged portions of the teeth like puzzle pieces.
Sometimes a fracture can extend into the pulp of a tooth. When this happens, bacteria inevitably invade the pulp chamber. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the neighboring teeth and lead to dental abscesses. The only way to treat this problem is to eliminate the source of infection with root canal therapy. This treatment removes the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues inside the affected tooth. Dr. Rodgers then fills the chamber and root canals with gutta percha – a rubbery dental material.
Once this portion of treatment is complete, the tooth is restored with a filling or a dental crown. With the infection gone, oral health is preserved and bite function is returned to normal.
If a tooth has sustained significant trauma, there may be no predictable way to save it. In these instances, extraction may be necessary. Dr. Rodgers can help you assess risks and benefits so that you can make a well-informed decision about your treatment.
No matter how seemingly harmless, a broken tooth needs immediate attention. Even small chips can progress into more severe damage. To make an appointment at our Atlanta, GA practice, call us at 404-577-6620 or contact us online anytime.