A missing, cracked or broken tooth can cause problems far beyond the aesthetics of your smile. A broken tooth can cause pain and discomfort, and if left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental health issues. This includes collecting bacteria which would risk infection or abscess or damaging the nerve which could lead to a root canal.
Whether or not your broken tooth can be saved is a question of how severely it has been damaged and how quickly you are to act on it.
Fixing a missing tooth at home
If your tooth has been knocked out by a sporting incident or just by biting something too hard, but the tooth itself is not actually broken, you can attempt to save it before visiting a dentist.
We recommend holding it by the crown (the visible part of the tooth when in your mouth) and gently rinsing away any dirt or debris from the root. As soon as possible, we recommend you place your tooth in a small cup of milk as this will encourage cell growth and minimise the risk of the tooth dying.
Next you should contact a dentist immediately because the sooner the tooth can be reinserted in your mouth, the better chance that it can be saved. Wherever possible, it is best to preserve your natural teeth, however there are a range of restorative treatment options if this cannot be done.
Broken tooth due to normal wear
If the tooth, itself, breaks from normal use or chewing, then it is best to book an emergency dentist appointment. Even if the broken tooth is not painful, it is exposed to bacteria in your mouth and can quickly deteriorate.
Broken tooth due to trauma
If a tooth breaks from trauma to the mouth, then you should also book an emergency dentist appointment for a better chance at saving it. That’s because how the broken tooth is treated immediately after the trauma can affect the long-term prognosis of the tooth.
Additionally, if you have face swelling due to trauma, apply a cold pack as soon as you can to reduce this.
Restorative Treatments for your broken tooth
Restorative dental treatment is your back up plan if part of your broken tooth or your whole broken tooth cannot be saved. Fortunately, modern dentistry gives you a range of advanced options to make your smile look as good as new and ensure your mouth is fully functional and healthy again.
If only a small piece of your tooth enamel has been chipped off, the damage can be repaired with a composite resin tooth filling. This allows you to save a majority of your tooth.
Also known as white fillings, composite resin fillings are very popular because they’re made to mimic the natural colour of your teeth. They are aesthetically pleasing, affordable and a relatively quick process.
If a large piece of your tooth breaks off, some of it may still be saved with dental crowns. This involves capping your tooth if the structural integrity of it is significantly threatened.
Crowns are usually bonded to the tooth with dental cement and can be made from either a porcelain outer surface with a metal base, pure porcelain or composite, or all metal (usually gold in colour). They all differ in durability, strength, appearance and cost.
Veneers are used to treat cosmetic concerns, including a broken tooth. Veneers cover the visible face of your teeth with a thin layer of porcelain ceramic or composite resin.
In the case of a broken tooth, you can choose to only get one veneer, or you restore your whole smile while you’re at it and get a few more. It depends on your preference.
A porcelain veneer is a tooth shaped “shell” that is custom-made to fit over the face of your teeth. This treatment is typically completed in two appointments.
Whereas, a composite veneer is applied to the surface of your teeth as a paste. This can usually be completed in one appointment.
Root Canal Treatment
If the crack in a broken tooth is big enough to expose the pulp (which exposes the nerves and blood vessels), bacteria from the mouth can enter and cause infection. In this case, root canal treatment is used as an attempt to save it.
Root canal treatment does tend to send shivers down patient’s spines, however, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial medicines are always put inside the tooth to help stop inflammation and infection.
A dental crown is then placed on top for extra protection.
If you have a missing, cracked or broken tooth, your best bet at saving it is visiting an emergency dentist immediately.
Everton Park Dental is your trusted dentist, providing services to Everton Park and surrounding areas including Everton Hills, Stafford, and Ashgrove.
We prioritise emergency appointments with after-hours appointments upon request. We also offer on-the-spot rebates through HICAPS.
To book an emergency appointment, please call (07) 3355 7936.