What to do right away if a piece of a tooth broke off?
Did you have a piece of tooth broken off while flossing or eating? Why does this happen? What to do first and how to treat a chipped incisor or masticatory tooth? Here are detailed instructions from our team at Svetlana Dental & Esthetic Center in Miami.
Read the article till the end, and you will also find out:
- How to avoid a chipped incisor or molar?
- What to do if you have a broken wisdom tooth?
Types of chipping
In such cases, only the outer protective layer of the core part is affected. There is no discomfort or pain because the dentin is not affected. A small piece of the tooth chipped off, and there is a risk of developing cavities.
More than half of the tooth is chipped
The problem affects the hard, deeper tissues of the tooth. Because of the dentin damage, there may be a reaction to hot/cold, sweet/acidic foods because there is a nerve right under the dentin.
Severe chipping with root damage
A severe crack of the tooth root or fracture, accompanied by damage to the core part of the molar or incisor (more than 60%). Followed by a sharp throbbing pain due to the exposure of the pulp. Urgent dental care is required.
What causes damage?
A fall, impact, or other mechanical injuries can damage the integrity of a tooth.
If decay is not treated, pathogenic bacteria will destroy the tooth from the inside, infecting the pulp.
Abnormal positioning of teeth in the row leads to improper distribution of the masticatory load, and the overload of individual units may lead to small chipping.
The enamel is gradually erased during the involuntary grinding of teeth, and microcracks, leading to chipping, appear.
Biting nails or opening bottles with your teeth may lead to enamel microcracks that increase in size over time.
Nutrition and vitamins
Excessive consumption of sweet/sour foods, sticky/hard foods, frequent temperature changes (e.g., drinking hot coffee with ice cream), calcium or fluoride deficiencies, and an acid-alkaline imbalance can all cause enamel damage.
How to take care of damaged teeth before going to a dentist?
Here are some recommendations:
Don’t throw away the large chipped piece. The doctor will need it to accurately restore the shape of the affected unit.
Gently rinse your mouth with clean water or antiseptic. .
Limit your diet (exclude cold/hot/spicy/acidic/hard/viscous foods).
Do not chew your food with the damaged tooth.
Take a painkiller for severe throbbing pain.
Apply an ice compress for 10 to 15 minutes for swollen cheeks.
Often, patients ask me: Can I fix a chipped tooth at home?
No, even if there is a small crack and there is no pain, you should definitely be examined at a dental clinic. A harmless microcrack without treatment will, sooner or later, lead to deep cavities, pulpitis, or periodontitis.
Methods of treatment
Tiny microcracks are repaired with superficial enamel resurfacing. Next comes a course of remineralizing therapy to restore the protective properties of enamel. One of the following treatment options is used if more severe injuries are involved.
For significant defects – cracks or chips, – a thin plate made of dental porcelain, E-max ceramic, or zirconium dioxide is glued to the front surface of a tooth. Veneers are placed only on the front incisors, canines, or, sometimes, on premolars.
If more than 60% of the tooth crown is chipped off, the doctor can restore it by covering it with a crown or cap placed on the previously resurfaced tooth.
We place highly aesthetic and durable zirconium dioxide crowns which match the color and shade of the enamel of the adjacent teeth. Even with the beaming smile, no one will be able to tell that you have a crown.
A ceramic inlay is used – it replaces the filling, and the root canals are not involved – if the crown is significantly damaged and the root is alive and strong.
An inlay core – a monolithic structure, the cone-shaped part of which goes into the root canal, with the stump above the gum – is used when the root is dead. It is obligatory to perform depulpation for a core inlay.
If the chip goes deep under the gum and the root is unstable, the doctor can remove the damaged tooth, place an implant – to replace the root, – and load it with a temporary plastic crown immediately on the day of surgery or after 3-7 days. A permanent crown can be placed at the end of the osseointegration period (3 to 6 months) when the artificial root assimilates into the bone tissue.
Implants are placed for life. They restore 100% of the aesthetic and masticatory function of the teeth.
Types of broken teeth
Dentists suggest the following recommendations to prevent cracking of the enamel and chipping:
- Take good care of your oral hygiene
- Visit a dentist’s office once every 6 months for a checkup
- Treat tooth decay in a timely manner
- Do not put off orthodontic treatment if you have bite problems
- Have a complete dental cleaning once a year
- Watch your diet (more foods high in calcium, vitamin D3, plant fiber)
If the 8th tooth is severely damaged – more than ⅔ of the crown is damaged, and the pulp is affected, – it may not be advisable to treat it. The final decision will be made by a doctor after a thorough examination.
If the chip is minor or there is a small crack, it is better to treat it to save the wisdom tooth.