It’s a common scenario. You are enjoying a favourite crunchy food or attempting to freshen your breath quickly with a piece of gum, and suddenly it doesn’t feel quite right. There’s something in your mouth that doesn’t belong. You’ve broken a tooth! Whether the break is significant enough to require emergency care or more minor, it is important to know what to do next, and what your options are for repair. Phoenix dentist, Dr. Sameet Koppikar, shares this advice.
Caring for a broken tooth your teeth are extremely hard, able to withstand tremendous bite force. However, they can be damaged, especially if the structure is already compromised by decay or previous trauma or dental work. It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible to minimize impact to your appearance and enjoyment of eating, and to avoid further damage or infection. Meanwhile:
Save any pieces that came off and give them to the dentist. Rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water, and take whatever non-prescription pain reliever works well for you, if you are in discomfort. A jagged edge can harm your tongue, lips, or cheek. Apply a bit of orthodontic wax, paraffin, or sugarless gum to the broken tooth to protect soft tissues. Eat soft foods and avoid biting directly on the broken tooth.
Repairing a broken tooth
Dr. Koppikar may repair small chip in tooth enamel with a procedure called bonding. It is the application of a composite resin, colored to blend beautifully with your natural tooth enamel. The bonding material is strong and durable.
The appearance of a front tooth with a fracture or small chip may be restored with a dental veneer – a thin layer of porcelain bonded to the tooth’s front surface.
If you’ve broken a back tooth or the chip is large, he may use a filling to repair the damage. The process is very similar to bonding, again using tooth-colored material.
If a large piece has broken off or the tooth has underlying decay, a dental crown is in order. This is a cap made of lustrous, strong porcelain. Areas of damage are removed and the tooth is shaped to hold the crown, which is cemented into place. With CEREC technology, the crown is prepared at Biltmore Dental Center, so you get a new tooth in one visit.
If the break has exposed the pulp containing blood vessels and nerves at the center of the tooth, your situation is acute. You will likely need emergency root canal therapy. Dr. Koppikar gets you out of pain quickly. Then he gets to work removing damaged structure and nerve, and sanitizing the pulp chamber. The tooth is sealed and protected from further harm with a porcelain crown.
Hopefully you’ll never need Dr. Koppikar’s care for repair of a broken tooth, but if you do, you are in good hands at Biltmore Dental Center. The number is (602) 954-8200 .