A broken tooth might not seem like a big deal if it is only a minor break, but it still requires treatment. Broken teeth cause more damage than simply ruining the appearance of a person’s smile. The damage typically removes portions of the outer surface of teeth, called enamel, which protects the more delicate parts of the tooth. Enamel is the strongest part of the body, so not having it there to protect teeth leaves them more vulnerable to issues like tooth decay and infection.
Some broken teeth are so damaged, emergency dental care is needed to provide pain relief and prevent infection. Any damage that leads to the pulp chamber (where a tooth’s blood vessels and nerve are housed) becoming compromised typically counts as a dental emergency.
Dealing with a broken tooth
Here are a few factors that can lead to a broken tooth.
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is caused by acids created by bacteria that live in the mouth; these germs convert sugars in food particles into acids, which eat away at teeth structures, and teeth that have been weakened by tooth decay have a higher risk of breaking
- Poor diet: Teeth can also be weakened by a person’s diet; habits like consuming excess sugary foods and beverages or eating hard foods can weaken teeth structures or cause them to break
- Bite issues: Teeth that do not come together are more likely to break because the poor bite puts additional stress on some teeth
- Trauma: Getting hit in the face is another common way that people end up with a broken tooth; it can be the result of an accident, a slip, or contact from physical activities, so wearing protective gear like a mouthguard can help reduce the risk of teeth becoming damaged
- Teeth grinding: Habits like teeth grinding lead to the teeth being exposed to excessive bite forces as a person sleeps, which weakens them and can cause them to break
Broken teeth can be classified into several categories to indicate their severity. Common classifications used by dentists include the following.
1. Chipped tooth
This refers to a minor break that typically only affects the outer layers of a tooth. Such injuries can be fixed with non-invasive treatments, like composite bonding or enamel reshaping. Chipped teeth do not usually require emergency care, but they should be treated as soon as possible.
2. Craze line break
This refers to minor cracks that only affect the outer layer of a tooth. Such damage can typically be fixed by polishing the tooth.
3. Cusp Break
This refers to damage that affects a tooth’s biting surface. Failing to fix such damage can lead to other parts of the tooth, like its root, becoming damaged.
4. Severe break
A break is classified as severe when it leaves the pulp chamber compromised. It typically requires root canal therapy and a crown to address.
Get the treatment you need
Call or visit our Carmel clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist and fix your broken tooth before it causes other issues.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: What Should I Do If I Chip My Tooth in Carmel, IN.
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