When it comes to eating, your molars do a lot of work. So it’s no surprise that if one of them gets a crack, it’s a big deal. You need them. Unlike broken bones, the cracked tooth will never heal completely. After treatment, a crack may worsen, and you could still lose the tooth.
Breaking a tooth can be stressful! Whether through an accident, doing something you shouldn’t (like biting your fingernails, for example), or because of a cavity, a broken tooth can ruin your day. Luckily, in the vast majority of cases, the tooth can likely be repaired. Fortunately, modern dental treatment can make your smile look great again—especially if you get prompt and appropriate care. That’s why it is important to know what to do when you break a tooth.
If a tooth has been damaged by a traumatic blow to the head, it’s a good idea to get checked out at an emergency room or urgent care center—particularly if there’s any dizziness, disorientation or loss of consciousness. If the injury is confined to the tooth or teeth, you may be able to wait until the next day (or longer for a tiny chip) to see a dentist.
Types of Broken or Cracked Tooth
Cracks can appear as:
- Craze lines
These are super-small cracks in the enamel (the strong outer covering) of teeth. They cause no pain and don’t require any treatment.
Minor chips will don’t usually require treatment either. They don’t cause pain, so chips are not a cause for concern other than the way that they look.
- Broken Cusp
This occurs when the cusped, pointed chewing surfaces of teeth are broken. A broken cusp doesn’t always cause much pain because it doesn’t affect the pulp.
- Cracks that extend into the gum line.
A tooth that has a vertical crack that extends through it but hasn’t yet reached the gum line is generally savable. However, if the crack extends into the gum line, that tooth may need to be extracted. Prompt treatment offers the best chance of saving the tooth.
- Serious Breaks
This type of break almost always causes tooth sensitivity and aches because it’s deep enough to expose the nerve. Oftentimes, The broken part of the tooth will bleed.
- Decay-induced Break
When a cavity weakens a tooth from the inside out, it can lead to a broken tooth.
- Split tooth
This is a tooth with a crack that travels from its surface to below the gum line. It can be separated into two segments. With such an extensive crack, it’s unlikely the entire tooth can be saved, but your dentist may be able to save a portion of it.
- Vertical root fracture
This type of crack begins below the gum line and travels upward. It often doesn’t produce much in the way of symptoms, unless the tooth becomes infected. Chances are the tooth will have to be extracted.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth
Not every cracked tooth will produce symptoms. But when it does, common ones include:
- Tooth pain when biting or chewing. This can be a good indicator of a cracked tooth, although you might not experience the pain every time you eat. It may only occur when you eat certain foods or bite down a certain way.
- sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweetness
A cracked tooth can lead to an infection in the gum line around the fracture area. This infection would look like a small bump on the gum near the tooth.
- pain that comes and goes but is rarely continuous
- swelling of the gum around the affected tooth
- No visible signs. Often with a cavity, you can spot signs of decay. For instance, you might see a dark spot on the tooth’s surface or a hole where the enamel has eroded. If you are experiencing tooth pain but you cannot see any obvious sign, this may be another indicator that you have a cracked tooth.
At Copperhills Family Dentistry, we see a lot of patients with broken teeth. We have seen them broken in every different way possible. From a small chip to a crack into the nerve, we can use modern restorative and cosmetic procedures to repair damaged teeth. The proper treatment for you will depend on how badly your tooth is damaged, but there are options, so you don’t have to live with an unattractive tooth.
Treatment for a cracked tooth
Some of those dental treatment options for broken teeth include the following:
Crowns can be helpful in covering the entire affected portion. They are a convenient solution for broken teeth. They are thicker than veneers and restore the tooth’s shape and appearance. Typically, crowns are made of metal, porcelain, and ceramic. Our Newmarket dentists consider fixing or restoring decayed or broken teeth the safest option.
Dental veneers are usually used for damaged front teeth, as this treatment provides the most realistic and attractive results. A veneer is a resin composite or tooth-coloured porcelain material placed on the whole front of the tooth, transforming the tooth’s appearance. A thicker section is applied to replace the fractured part of the tooth. Another benefit is that they can last up to 30 years, so you won’t need them replaced regularly.
You may need a dental implant if your tooth cannot be saved. A fractured tooth can’t be treated once the crack extends below the gum line. In this case, the entire tooth must be extracted. Then, you can receive your dental implant from taking the place of your missing tooth. This procedure often takes several months, requiring your bone to heal around the titanium frame or post. Once complete, dental implants act as roots for an artificial tooth, securely placed in your jawbone.
Many dentists consider dental bonding the least involved dental procedure for a damaged tooth. Dentists use an uncomplicated chip of composite material to correct and improve the tooth’s appearance. A blue light then hardens the composite moulding and fixes the tooth.
A root canal is necessary when the crack in a tooth extends into the pulp. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, swelling, or a toothache, you are likely in need of a root canal. This treatment involves removing the nerve and decayed tooth matter. Then, the root canal is cleaned and sealed. If necessary, a crown will be added. Without immediate treatment, it can cause the infection to spread and lead to other serious health problems.
Fillings are among the safest dental procedures dentists use to fix broken teeth. The dentist fixes cracked or broken teeth temporarily using restorative material. The dental process is beneficial if your tooth has suffered a cavity. It is painless and cost-efficient.
Ideal for fixing tooth holes, dental sealants protect your infected and cracked tooth. Sealants also act as a barrier against cavity-causing bacteria that damage your teeth. Your dentist places a dental sealant on your morals and premolars.
All in all, a cracked, broken or chipped tooth can be a dental emergency. It is vital to contact a dentist as early as possible. Patients should not hesitate to call their dentist upon discovering a damaged tooth. This can help them explore suitable options for dental treatment. The procedures mentioned above will help you decide on the best option.
Four ways to extract broken root tips and when to Leave them alone
When we are extracting a root, there is a possibility of fracture of the roots or the root tip. Or you might encounter a root tip on a radiograph. We will learn how root tips are extracted, and then we will know when we can just leave them alone. So imagine you were removing a tooth and the root of that tooth fractured. The tooth is out, but a piece of the root is still in the socket. What do you do now? You might think of getting a root tip elevator and immediately try to remove it, but that’s not the ideal way to begin. So what should you do instead? Once the fracture has occurred, the patient should be repositioned so that you can get better visualization and adjust the light accordingly. Next, vigorously irrigate the tooth socket and apply suction with a suction tip. Sometimes if the fragment is small and loose, it will come out with irrigation alone.
So always use the most straightforward technique first and then move on to the more complex ones.
So Once irrigation and suction are done, we should scrutinize the socket to check if the root has been removed. We should also check the extracted tooth to see how much of the root is fractured. If the root piece is not removed with this process, we should move on to the following technique. To extract such root tips from the maxilla and mandible, double-angled root tip elevators can be used because they have a sharp tip which fits easily
between the root tip and the alveolar bone. We can place the narrow angled elevator between the alveolar bone and the root tip and push it forwards as apically as possible. Then we can try to luxate the root tip until it is moving. If this attempt is not successful, that is, If the root tip is not mobile at all, then we should place the tip of the elevator on the mesial and distal aspects of the socket until the root tip is fully mobilized, once it’s moving, removal is effortless.
An instrument called a root tip pick can also be used. The root tip pick is inserted into the periodontal ligament space, and the root is gently teased out of the socket. But remember that it should not be used like an elevator. Because the tip of this instrument is very delicate.
We should not apply excessive apical force or lateral force. Excessive apical force could result in displacement of the root tip into the maxillary sinus, and Excessive lateral force could result in the bending or fracture of the delicate end of the root tip pick.
Removal of a root piece gets more challenging when it’s a root tip of a maxillary or mandibular molar because inter radicular bone is involved. We must remove part of the intraarticular bone from inside the socket with a round bur or sharp instrument. Only then can we reach this root tip right.
We need to take special care If the root tip belongs to the palatal root because there is an increased risk of displacing the root tip into the maxillary sinus.
There is another way of removing The root tip. Using an endodontic file, the file is first placed inside the socket and then screwed into the canal, and the root tip is delivered either by hand or with a needle holder like this. As the needle holder is resting on the occlusal surface of these teeth, a protective gauze is placed between them.
When a root tip is fractured deep in the socket, and it’s impossible to remove with simple luxation, we can use surgical techniques to remove it so let’s see the first technique. This is the root piece. A soft tissue flap is reflected and retracted with a periosteal elevator to remove this. The buccal surface of the tooth is exposed by removing the bone here with a bur. Root. Using a small straight elevator, the root is buccally delivered through the opening, then The wound is irrigated, and the flap is repositioned and sutured. In this technique, as you can see, the buccal bone is not preserved, but when the patient has to go for orthodontic treatment, It’s essential to maintain the integrity of the buccal bone plate. So in such cases, an L-shaped incision is made, the flap is reflected, and a small window is created. Using a round bur, the window is formed corresponding to the tip of the fractured root. Then the window is enlarged, so the root is exposed, and we can place a narrow angled elevator here. In this way, we can displace the root from the socket.
The root can also be removed through the window if it’s that small. After removal of the root, the socket is irrigated, and interrupted sutures are placed. Remember that This technique is indicated immediately after the root is fractured.