Oops, you bit down on something or got hit in the mouth and now you have a cracked or broken tooth. This is considered a dental emergency and you need to see a dentist as soon as possible.
You want to be prepared, though, so before you seek any dental help, do these things first:
- Rinse with salt water and take acetaminophen if there is pain.
- Put wax paraffin or sugarless over the tooth if there is a sharp edge
- If you are starving, eat soft food and do not bite down on the tooth
This one tends to be a very long shot since it’s hard for a dentist to get a fragment back on the tooth. If it does work, it is a very good option, but the odds are long – though you should bring the fragment to the dentist anyways to give yourself a chance, though it depends on whether the fragment has deteriorated.
Get a Filling
If the crack results in a large hole, then the best option for the dentist may be to just put a filling in it. Patients find the whole process pretty painless and it can solve a problem for the long term.
Reshape The Tooth
Should the tooth wind up only being very slightly chipped, the dentist might be able to reshape the tooth so that there is no evidence that there was any damage at all. The procedure involves smoothing and polishing the tooth so that it looks very close to how it did before the incident. It usually only requires a single visit and is painless.
Get a Veneer
This is a great option if it turns out that the teeth that are affected are in the front of the mouth – i.e. the area where people tend to look when you’re talking. You can just get a veneer – the dentist will smooth a small part of the tooth and then give you first a temporary veneer and then ultimately a permanent one. They usually use porcelain to make them.
Have the Tooth Bonded
The dentist uses composite resin to fill in whatever size crack there is and they can even make sure that the color matches your tooth. It’s shaped to resemble your teeth and they are fairly durable, lasting up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. This process is also fairly easy on patients’ wallets, since it doesn’t cost much to do.
Get a Crown
A crown will do a good job of both being aesthetically pleasing and also protective of the tooth. This is a good idea if you have a big part of the tooth break off. The dentist can fit the crown so that it attaches to the top of the tooth and then conceals the damage.
Get an Onlay
People who have had molars that are cracked can have these. A dental lab makes these from porcelain or dental gold – though if the damage is really bad, it’s better to get a crown.
Have a Root Canal
Sometimes, the damage to your tooth may be so extensive that it reaches the pulp or root. That means a root canal may be in order. This is done to prevent possible infection.. and you will get a crown over your tooth. A specialist may wind up having to do this.
Get it Extracted and Replaced With Dental Implant
This is more of an option if the tooth is completely broken and needs to be taken out in pieces. The dentist will then insert a screw into the jawbone – if there is enough mass, and allow that to fuse over a period of time. After that, an abutment is inserted and a crown ultimately inserted.
Get a Tooth Splint
This is an option if the tooth is merely chipped, not cracked. The chipped tooth is bonded to a healthy tooth and allows for healing.
As you can see, there are a good number of choices to pick from. Be sure to talk with your dentist about what is best for you.
As a family dentist, Dr. Shaista Najmi has seen all kinds of situations with cracked or chipped teeth, whether in kids or adults. Both she and her staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville will be able to correct it using one of the options above. They will be glad to talk it over at an appointment. Call them at (904) 998-1555.