Chipped, Broken, Cracked Tooth

Chipped, Broken or Cracked Tooth

Got a Cracked Tooth?

So there you are, snacking on popcorn at the movies and suddenly … CRUNCH … and you know it’s not a popcorn kernel. What happened?  Do I have a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth?

Enamel may be the hardest mineralized tissue in the body, but that does not mean it can’t break.  Using your teeth as a bottle opener or facial trauma can chip or break a tooth. A tooth weakened because of a large filling or cavity can easily crack or chip.

Caring for a chipped, cracked or broken tooth

If your tooth is chipped or cracked make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. A tooth that is damaged can decay and lead to more serious and costly problems. A cracked tooth is more serious than a chipped tooth. A badly cracked tooth may have to be removed.

Meanwhile, here are some self-care tips

  • – If there is a sharp edge cutting your tongue, try placing some wax or gum on the chipped area of the tooth.
  • – Keep to soft foods to avoid pain or further damaging the tooth.
  • – If the tooth is painful, take acetaminophen or other pain reliever.

Treatments for a chipped tooth

Depending upon the severity of the chip, your dentist may be able to repair it in a single visit. However, a badly chipped or fractured tooth could require more time and be more costly.

Composite filling or bonding

If a small piece of tooth is chipped, your dentist can repair it with a composite resin bonding.

Porcelain veneer, dental crown, or onlay

If the chip or crack is significant, your dentist will want to restore the tooth with a stronger more durable restoration.  A porcelain veneer would be the treatment of choice for a front tooth. For a back tooth, your dentist may restore the tooth with a dental crown or a partial dental crown such as a porcelain onlay.

Is a root canal necessary?

Depending upon the size of the break, if the nerve (pulp) is exposed or even close to it your dentist may recommend root canal treatment as a preventive measure.

Bottom line

If somehow you can’t avoid that stray rock in your Cobb salad and your tooth cracks, see your dentist as soon as possible.

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