A toothache is a soreness, pain, or ache in and around the teeth or gums. Handling this kind of pain on top of your daily routine can be unpleasant and frustrating. Just imagine taking a lunch break at work and experiencing sharp pain after biting your sandwich. It will take you by surprise and leave…
Don’t Wait to Get a Broken Tooth Treated
If you have a fractured, chipped, or otherwise broken tooth, you should see the dentist as soon as possible. Delaying professional care could lead to further damage, infection, or eventual loss of the entire tooth.
When to seek emergency treatment for a broken tooth
A broken tooth is one of the most common types of dental emergencies. Chipped, fractured, or broken teeth can result from sports, accidents, or eating hard foods. While a broken tooth should always be taken seriously, not every case requires emergency treatment. Minor fractures or chips do not constitute a threat to your overall health, so a regularly scheduled dentist appointment will suffice. However, immediate medical attention is needed for a major fracture to a tooth where you experience intense pain and a big chunk of the tooth is missing. Dentists generally set aside specific appointments for emergency situations, so you are likely to be able to obtain a same-day visit. When you see your dentist, you will probably receive one of the following procedures for your broken tooth.
Dental bonding or filling
A small chip of tooth enamel can be repaired with a filling. If the issue is on the front of the tooth or is visible when you smile, the dentist will use a bonding procedure that repairs the damage with a tooth-colored resin. Bonding requires etching the tooth with a gel or liquid, application of an adhesive material, and application of the composite resin. Finally, an ultraviolet light is used to set the material.
Dental crown or cap
A tooth with a large break or one with a great deal of decay may need a crown, or a tooth-shaped cap, to protect the tooth and enhance its appearance. Crowns are made of ceramic, metal, resin, or porcelain fused to metal. Full metal crowns have the greatest strength, while porcelain and resin crowns look identical to a natural tooth.
A chipped or broken tooth in the front of the mouth can benefit from a dental veneer, a shell of tooth-colored resin composite material or porcelain that covers the entire front of the tooth. To apply the veneer, the dentist removes a bit of surface enamel and makes an impression of the tooth for the lab to use in constructing the veneer. During a follow-up appointment, the dentist roughens the tooth's surface with a liquid, cements the veneer in place, and hardens the cement with an activating light.
A large chip or broken tooth where the pulp is exposed is in danger of infection from bacteria. Danger signs include pain, a change in color, or sensitivity to heat. If the pulp tissue dies and the tooth becomes infected, it may need to be extracted. A root canal can combat this process by removing the diseased pulp, cleaning out the root canal, and sealing the tooth. Usually, the remaining tooth is covered with a crown for additional protection.
A broken tooth may not constitute an actual emergency, but your overall health generally requires some level of professional treatment. Always visit your dentist to ensure your broken tooth is not more serious than you believe it to be.
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