Sometimes a tiny hole in a tooth can hide a much larger cavity underneath so that when you bite down, the tooth crumbles away. Crunching on nuts or hard candies can easily break a tooth.
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Although teeth are covered with enamel, which is the hardest tissue in the human body, they can still become chipped or cracked, and especially if you receive a blow to the mouth. Unfortunately, we often see people with cracked front teeth due to sporting injuries, and who haven’t worn a protective sports mouthguard.
If you do break or chip a tooth, it is important to see a dentist here at Gentle Dental as soon as possible. When tooth enamel is damaged, bacteria naturally present in your mouth can enter the tooth more easily, causing infection and decay. Without prompt treatment of this teeth problem, a small chip in a tooth will worsen and could become infected. You may even lose the tooth.
If a broken tooth is painful, use an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen. A warm salt water rinse can soothe the tooth by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swishing it gently around your mouth. If eating causes cracked tooth pain, stick to softer foods, and avoid chewing on the affected tooth until you can see us.
Treatment to repair a broken tooth depends on the degree of damage to the tooth. A small crack in the tooth enamel is often easily repaired, while more extensive damage will take longer to restore. Listed below are some of the ways we may suggest repairing your tooth.
Dental bonding is a very effective broken tooth repair treatment and which uses tooth-colored composite resin. After preparing the tooth surface, the resin is bonded onto the tooth and is shaped and polished to look natural. The material is hardened with ultraviolet light. Dental bonding is the same treatment that is sometimes used to correct crooked front teeth in cosmetic dentistry.
A small or medium-sized cavity in a tooth can be mended in a similar way using tooth-colored composite resin. The dentist first numbs the tooth and removes the decay and shapes the cavity before filling it with the resin, hardening it with ultraviolet light before the filling is shaped and polished.
Sometimes a broken tooth or a cracked tooth can be mended with a dental veneer, which is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the entire front portion of the tooth. Our dentist will need to shape the tooth in preparation for the veneer. Usually, it takes a couple of weeks for the laboratory to make the porcelain veneer, during which time we protect your tooth with a temporary veneer. Once your veneer is ready, we carefully prepare the surface of the tooth to ensure there is a good bond between the tooth and the veneer before cementing it permanently onto your tooth.
A tooth that is heavily decayed or which has broken down significantly can be restored with a dental crown. We remove the damaged portion of the tooth, using a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable, and carefully shape the tooth to support the crown. It usually takes two weeks for the dental crown to be made, during which time we protect your tooth with a temporary crown.
The crown covers the entire tooth, protecting it and improving its appearance, restoring its shape and structure. Dental crowns are made from a variety of materials, including all-ceramic, porcelain fused to metal and precious metal alloy.
If a broken tooth has exposed the dental pulp or when the pulp has become inflamed or infected, root canal therapy removes the damaged tissues so we can build up the tooth sufficiently and restore it properly. Often, we will place a post or pin in the root canal to provide extra strength before restoring the tooth with a dental crown.
Our dentists here at Gentle Dental can discuss all the broken or cracked tooth repair options suitable for your situation. For more information about the best treatment for the broken tooth in Queens, contact Gentle Dental at (718) 461-0100.