If you’ve ever had a tooth break, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. Teeth can break for a number of reasons, but no matter how your tooth breaks, there are a few different ways to repair it. While some fractures are more serious than others, all of them require prompt attention to ensure that the damage does not get worse. In this blog post, we will discuss the different ways that teeth can break and how to fix them.
Types of Tooth Fractures
There are three main types of tooth fractures: enamel fractures, root fractures, and chipped enamel. Enamel fractures are the most common type of fracture and usually occur when a hard object hits the tooth. Root fractures are less common, but they can be more serious because they can damage the nerves in your teeth. Chipped enamel is the least serious type of fracture, but can still be painful.
Common Causes of Broken Teeth
Teeth can break for any number of reasons, however tooth fractures are generally due to sustaining excess force and/or parafunctional behaviors (behaviors outside of the normal function of teeth). There are a few different things that can cause your teeth to break. Some common examples can include:
- Eating hard foods: Eating hard foods is one of the most common causes of tooth fractures. Hard foods can include candy, nuts, and ice.
- Chewing on hard objects: Chewing on hard objects, such as pencils or your fingernails, can also lead to tooth fractures.
- Sports injuries: If you play contact sports, you are at risk for sustaining a tooth fracture caused by an impact to the face.
- Accidents: Accidents, such as falling down or being hit in the mouth, are another common cause of tooth fractures.
- Grinding your teeth: Grinding your teeth (bruxism) can also lead to tooth fractures over time since this weakens the enamel. Luckily, your dentist can diagnose bruxism and prescribe a night guard to protect both your teeth and jaw.
- Tooth decay: Cavities weaken the structural integrity of your teeth and make them more likely to fracture. This is also true with teeth that had to undergo root canal therapy.
- Using your teeth as tools: Finally, using your teeth as tools, such as opening a bottle, holding things, or tearing open a package, can also cause them to break.
Fixing Broken Teeth
Once you’ve broken a tooth, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the damage may get worse and you may need more extensive treatment. The best way to fix a broken tooth depends on the type of fracture and the severity of the damage. There are a few different options that your dentist may recommend:
For minor fractures, such as chipped enamel, composite bonding is usually the best option. This is a quick and easy procedure where a tooth-colored resin is used to fill in the damaged area. The composite resin is then shaped and hardened in place. The advantages of composite bonding are that it is minimally-invasive, can be completed in a single dental appointment, and is less expensive than other options. The disadvantages are that it is not ideal for moderate or severe fractures and it may last for less time.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth. They are usually made from porcelain or ceramic and can be used to improve the appearance of your smile. Veneers can also be used to repair minor to moderate fractures, but they are not ideal for more serious injuries. The advantages of veneers are that they are stain-resistant, durable, and can last for many years. The disadvantages are that they are more expensive than other options, permanently alter the enamel, and require two dental appointments.
Dental crowns are also known as caps. They are made from porcelain, ceramic, or metal and fit over the entire tooth. Crowns are usually used to protect a tooth that has been severely damaged or is at risk for breaking. Dental crowns are also used to restore teeth that have undergone root canal therapy in order to protect them from future decay. The advantages of dental crowns are that they are durable, can last for many years, and can be matched to the color of your teeth. The disadvantages are that they require two dental appointments and can be more expensive than other options.
Extraction with Dental Implants
In some cases, the best option for repairing a broken tooth is to extract it and replace it with a dental implant. While tooth extractions are always a last resort, they are sometimes necessary if the root is fractured and/or if the tooth is too damaged to be sufficiently restored using the aforementioned methods. Dental implants are artificial roots that are placed in the jawbone to support a replacement tooth. The advantages of this option are that dental implants are extremely durable, can last for many years, and are designed to look and function like natural teeth. The disadvantages are that it is more expensive than other options and requires two surgical procedures.
We have discussed types of tooth fractures, common causes of broken teeth, and the best ways to repair broken teeth. No matter which option you choose, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible after you’ve broken a tooth. The sooner you get treatment, the less damage will be done and the easier it will be to fix.
We hope that you have found this information to be helpful and that you will use it to make informed decisions about your oral health care. Thank you for reading!
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this topic, please feel free to contact our office. We would be happy to help you!