The reason why a tooth gets chipped varies. It could be due to dental conditions or accidental causes. But because of modern dental technology, dentists can now fix a cracked tooth in no time. In this article, we are going to discuss how does a dentist fix a chipped tooth and what are its possible causes and symptoms. At https://www.kellyvillefamilydental.com.au/, everything is possible, all you need to do is to consult their well-experienced dentists.
What Causes Chipped Tooth
How we acquire a cracked tooth depends on so many things. From our lifestyle, daily activities, dental condition, and oral care practices. Below are the common reasons why a broken tooth occurs:
- Biting hard food. Foods like hard candy, peanuts, and ice could shock our teeth and eventually result in a cracked tooth. This particular cause often attacks the molars as they absorb most of the force when biting.
- Facial trauma after an accident. Cracked tooth takes place due to facial injuries. A broken tooth could occur if the maxillary arch, mandibular arch, and the posterior and anterior segments were greatly affected by the impact.
- Damage caused by sports. Physical sports such as boxing, basketball, and football can cause moderate to a severely cracked tooth. Sometimes, it could even result in losing a tooth because of the high impact it caused to the face.
- Teeth grinding. Bruxism or grinding of the teeth is one of the reasons why a cracked tooth occurs. However, due to its minimal force, the crack is often left unnoticeable unless it starts to cause pain and discomfort.
- Unhealthy dental disposition. Without proper oral care, cavities and plaque will start on dominating the tooth. When the situation gets worse, the teeth will gradually start to become weak and brittle, hence, resulting in a cracked tooth.
- Old amalgam fillings. Old and unreplaced amalgam fillings can cause great harm to the overall dental health of a person. Amalgam fillings weaken the teeth over time making it brittle and easy to break. As a matter of fact, it has become a common occurrence when a tooth with amalgam fillings become cracked or chipped.
Most of the time, when the crack or chip in a broken tooth is too tiny, pain and discomfort rarely take place immediately. But when the break has reached the nerves, teeth sensitivity, and irritation while chewing might occur from time to time.
Symptoms of A Chipped Tooth
A minor break is hardly unnoticeable. Oftentimes, you would not even know that your tooth is actually broken or chipped. Severe cracks however may include the following symptoms:
- Rough tooth surface when you slide your tongue over your teeth. Your teeth should feel smooth whenever you run your tongue over it. If you feel that it has a jagged and uneven surface, observe how it looks in the mirror, and check if a cracked tooth is in place.
- Irritated gums. A cracked tooth could affect the gums directly. The gums around your broken tooth would be in pain more than other parts. Examine the severity of the pain and consult your dentist right away.
- Slight sting on the tongue when you slide it through the teeth. A cracked tooth would often sting the tongue when it comes into contact. If the broken tooth is severe, avoid risking your tongue by not letting it go near the cracked area as it may end up swollen and scratched.
- Infection. When the condition of the cracked teeth gets worse, certain complications might occur such as having fever, extreme sensitivity to hot or cold temperature, and bad breath.
- Toothache or tooth pain. The severity of the pain depends on the extremity of the crack. A cracked tooth with large damage could become very unbearable. Situations like this need immediate medical attention to prevent further damage.
Chipped Tooth Risk Factors
An untreated and neglected broken tooth could eventually result in major dental problems. When the cracked tooth is left untreated, several factors are at risk including:
- Weakened teeth due to tooth decay. Cavities will start dominating the open tooth thus leading to tooth decay, worst-case scenario, tooth loss. This can be prevented with root canal treatment.
- Worn down enamel. When the tooth enamel starts to wear down, gum diseases might occur.
- Eating foods high in acid could only worsen the condition of the cracked tooth. These foods could damage the enamel and expose the tooth to bacteria.
- Sugar can also aggravate the broken tooth by weakening the enamel making it easier for bacterias to infect the tooth.
- As we grow older, our tooth enamel slowly gets weaker as well. This makes the enamel susceptible to different periodontal diseases.
First-Aid for Broken Tooth
While it’s important to seek medical attention immediately, first-aid procedures can also be performed to lessen the pain and discomfort caused by a broken tooth.
- Use warm water to rinse your mouth. Gargle the impacted area to remove dirt and prevent particles from infecting the open crack.
- Try to stop the bleeding by putting pressure on the broken tooth area.
- If swelling occurs, place an ice pack on top of your face and lie still.
- Use over the counter pain relievers to reduce the pain.
- If available, use milk or saline solution to cover the cracked tooth.
- Temporary fillers can also be used such as bubble gum or dental wax.
- Avoid using the cracked tooth in chewing.
How Dentists Fix a Chipped Tooth
There are several ways to fix a cracked tooth, but it will vary on the location, severity, and symptoms of the tooth. Having a chipped tooth cannot be considered a medical emergency unless it’s bleeding endlessly and causing pain to the patient. Prior to getting any kind of treatment, a root canal will always be performed first. Below are the treatments used to fix a chipped tooth:
- Reattachment. If a part of the tooth falls off, place it in a container with milk to make sure that it stays moist. Wait for your appointment and bring your tooth fragment to the dentist. This technique is used to maintain the aesthetics as well as the function of the tooth. The tooth reattachment procedure uses a conventional composite resin, flowable composite resin, or resin cement to attach the tooth fragment back to its original place.
- Bonding. If the tooth fragment is not retrievable, tooth bonding is the second-best option. In this method, a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the cracked tooth, followed by a special light to harden the material. After drying the resin, the dentist will mold it into the actual shape of the teeth to make it look more natural. Tooth bonds can last for more than 10 years with proper oral care.
- Veneers. This treatment could be a little costly but it guarantees a satisfactory result. Veneers could be made of porcelain or composite resin material as well. The procedure includes smoothening of the tooth enamel and attaching the veneers on top of the cracked tooth to conceal it. Compared to tooth bonds, veneers could last for 30 years or more.
- Dental Onlays. For mild cases, dentists often recommend dental Onlay. This dental restoration method uses materials like metal, acrylic, or porcelain to fill in or cover the small crack on the broken tooth. The material will be cemented on the tooth to make sure that there are no spaces or gaps to minimize the risk of tooth decay.
Dental treatments do not come cheap. Oftentimes, specialised and invasive treatments require expensive materials and overall procedures. To give you an approximate amount on how much you’ll spend on treatments, refer to the list below:
- Root canal. The root canal treatment alone costs from $1000 to $2000 depending on the location of the broken tooth.
- Tooth reattachment also varies on the condition of the broken tooth. For this treatment, you can expect a $2000 to $3000 bill.
- Tooth bonding costs around $300 to $600 per tooth.
- Veneers are more expensive compared to other treatments. It’s ranging between $800 to $1000 per tooth.
- According to data, dental Onlays range from $700 to $1300 per tooth.
Please note that these numbers are based on the average costs only. Other expenses like x-ray and laboratory are not yet included as well as miscellaneous fees.
It’s good to know that modern dentistry is now more advanced and competitive when it comes to providing services to keep our dental health in check. But keep in mind that the general health of our entire mouth still depends on how we take care of it.