Our office policy has always been to make room in our schedule to see emergency patients that day, as we don’t want the tooth to fracture any further. Patients appreciate this service and we promptly fix the problem.
When we were younger, we could fall, get up easily and usually nothing was broken; everything healed quickly. As we age, we get more brittle: our bones, legs, hips and even teeth. We can chew on ice, eat hard pretzels and tear bagels, and get away with it for years. With time, our teeth can have large fillings placed. Unfortunately, the amount of tooth structure that supports a filling becomes less each time a filling is replaced. Fillings and bondings have a life span and hold up pretty well considering all the pounding they take.
So, when you come into our office with a broken tooth, we take an x-ray. If it is a small chip, it can easily be replaced with a filling or bonding. If there is more tooth structure missing, we may have to break the news that a crown may be needed. The tooth is prepared for a crown, an impression is taken and a temporary crown is placed that day. Sometimes, the tooth is fractured below the gum line, and a periodontal procedure called crown root lengthening is needed to expose more tooth structure. The worst-case scenario is that the tooth is vertically fractured far below the gum line and we cannot save the tooth; then, usually, a dental implant is necessary. We give our patients the option of an implant or a fixed bridge after demonstrating the advantages of each procedure.
On Wednesday, I had a new patient that broke her upper front tooth. She was leaving Boynton Beach, Florida on Saturday. We prepared her fractured tooth, took an impression, and made her a nice temporary crown. She was also concerned that the adjacent front tooth had an old crown that, for years, she thought was too long. On Friday, she came back and we inserted her new crown. We adjusted the length of the old crown, and they both looked perfect. She was thrilled with the results, the ease of the dentistry; it made the both of us so glad that we got her looking great so promptly.
Learn more about what to do if a tooth filling fell out.
Also, as always, please let me know if there any questions that you would like me address with my blog.