The outer structure of teeth, called enamel, is the hardest material in your body. However, enamel can still chip, break or fracture.
Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth widely ranges and mainly depends on the size and location of the broken tooth structure:
Small chip: Often when the broken piece is very small, a tooth colored filling can be bonded on to the tooth to replace the missing tooth structure. In a very small chip, the tooth can sometimes just be smoothed in the area to prevent a sharp point from scratching your tongue or cheek.
Larger chip or broken piece: When the piece broken off becomes larger, more extensive dental care is typically needed:
- In some situations, a large tooth colored filling can be completed to restore the lost tooth structure.
- Sometimes, a veneer may be used to fix a broken tooth in the front of your mouth.
- A dental crown may be indicated if the amount of lost tooth structure is too large for a filling or veneer.
- In large fractures, the nerve of the tooth may even be exposed. This is a serious situation since the nerve will be contaminated by the bacteria in your mouth. Often, a root canal procedure may be needed. During a root canal, the nerve of the tooth is removed and the internal cavity that holds the nerve is cleaned, disinfected, and filled with a biocompatible dental material. After the root canal, the tooth needs to be restored to its natural shape and color. The first step is a procedure called a “post and core”, where a post is placed into the tooth for support. This post is then used to hold a core. The core is a strong dental material used to replace the broken off tooth structure. Finally, a dental crown is placed over the core. The dental crown will be perfectly shaped, colored and contoured to replace the way the tooth used to look and function.
- In some situations, the broken off piece is so large that the tooth cannot be saved. Unfortunately, the tooth would be removed (extracted) in this scenario, and your dentist would discuss options to replace the tooth, such as a dental implant or dental bridge.
About our office and emergency dental care:
At Lissauer Dental, we truly understand the pain you are experiencing during your dental emergency. We will bend over backwards to accommodate you if you need immediate care. Our office policy to see patients with dental emergencies the day that we are called, even if you are new to our practice. So, please do not hesitate to call, and we will be here for you.