Our Mesa, Arizona restoration dentists offer several options for restoring broken teeth. A broken tooth can be embarrassing. More worrisome, a broken tooth may alter the strength of your bite and ultimately lead to tooth extraction. Depending on the extent of damage, extraction and tooth replacement with a dental implant may be your best option. However, whenever possible, our dentists try to avoid an extraction by offering alternative restorations for broken teeth when they can be seen early enough.
What Is The Difference Between A Broken And Chipped Tooth?
Chips are relatively small injuries that typically damage the outermost layer of tooth enamel. A chip may occur on a front or back tooth. This injury often relates to bruxism (grinding or clenching.) A broken tooth is one that has been more deeply damaged. A tooth may break into the central chamber in which the nerves and pulp of the tooth live. This more significant injury requires prompt dental care.
A more extensive break may present signs such as:
- Sudden tooth sensitivity (hot, cold, or sweets).
- Pain that worsens when biting or chewing.
- Swollen gums around the damaged tooth.
- Tooth pain that is difficult to pinpoint.
- Tooth pain that comes and goes.
- Changes in chewing sensation caused by instability in the damaged tooth.
What To Do With A Broken Or Chipped Tooth
If an obvious fracture has occurred, rinsing with warm salty water can inhibit infection and may also improve comfort. This is an interim strategy to use until you can see the dentist. Fractures are an unexpected problem that requires same-day care in order to increase the chance of saving the tooth from extraction. Within the few hours of the tooth breaking, the nerves and root can lose enough blood and nutrients that the tooth is no longer viable. At Drs of Smiles, we encourage you to call our office as soon as your tooth becomes chipped or broken.
What Our Patients Have To Say
“Very kind and reassuring. Everything was explained and executed as described. They went above and beyond normal processes to accommodate my needs. Very pleasant experience.” -Peggy
How Can a Tooth Be Broken or Chipped?
Broken or chipped teeth are most often the result of direct trauma to the tooth. This trauma can occur during a sports injury that causes a direct impact on the mouth. Trauma to a tooth can also occur when biting down on something too hard, such as a piece of hard candy.
Aside from direct trauma, broken or chipped teeth can also result from cavities. When left untreated, cavities can cause the teeth to become weak and brittle. This makes them more susceptible to breakage from minor impacts.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Broken or Chipped Tooth?
When you have a broken or chipped tooth, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Pain or sensitivity when drinking cold liquids
- Discomfort or pain when chewing
- Visible cracks in the teeth
- Recurring sharp pains around the tooth
While indicative of broken teeth, these signs and symptoms can also occur in various other dental conditions, including tooth decay, cavities, and more. A complete examination from a dental professional can determine whether your symptoms are caused by a chip or break in the tooth or not.
What Happens If I Hit My Tooth, but Nothing Breaks Off?
If you hit your tooth and nothing breaks off, there may still be damage to the tooth. Direct impact on the tooth can result in a cracked tooth. When a tooth is cracked, a piece of the tooth may not break off immediately, but the tooth will become vulnerable to further damage. Cracks can allow bacteria to enter the tooth and lead to issues like tooth decay or infection. Cracks can also become larger over time, eventually resulting in breakage.
What Should I Do If I Chipped or Broke a Tooth?
Immediately after chipping or breaking a tooth, you should rinse your mouth with warm water to cleanse the area. You can then apply a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling. It is important to note that this is not a fix for a chipped or broken tooth.
Once these measures are taken, you must schedule an appointment with a dental professional as soon as possible. Your dentist needs to assess the damage and determine the best course of action for treating your tooth. A chipped or broken tooth that is left untreated can turn into more serious dental problems.
What Foods Can I Eat with a Broken or Chipped Tooth?
If you have a broken or chipped tooth, it can be painful to eat solid foods. The best foods to eat with a broken or chipped tooth are soft foods like oatmeal, cream soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and smoothies.
Will I Need a Root Canal?
Depending on the severity of your dental injury, you may eventually need a root canal. When evaluated immediately, your tooth may not show signs of decay. Over time, the tooth may die and begin to cause painful symptoms. Patients with sharp pains or discomfort may need a root canal to resolve their symptoms.
If My Tooth Is Broken, Will It Need To Be Extracted?
Not all broken teeth need to be extracted. Your dentist at our Mesa, Arizona office makes the determination regarding treatment after conducting a thorough examination. X-rays may also be taken to observe the root of the damaged tooth as a part of the diagnostic process. We favor conservative care whenever possible and typically consider extraction only when our examination suggests that the tooth is too badly damaged to function well with restorative procedures such as root canal therapy and a dental crown.
Repairing Broken Teeth
At our comfortable Mesa dental office, your restorative dentistry options will include:
Dental bonding – a composite resin applied to the front and back of a tooth
Porcelain crowns – also known as “caps,” porcelain crowns are placed over the top of a broken tooth
Porcelain veneers – placed over the front of your tooth, porcelain veneers can cover a broken tooth and work to restore strength and appearance
BruxZir crowns – Made with zirconia, a very hard tooth colored material similar in strength to gold.
All of these dental restoration options serve the dual purpose of restoring both the appearance and function of broken teeth. Your needs will dictate the procedure our dentists recommend, but all of these procedures have the ability to make your smile beautiful, functional, and strong once again.
Devoted entirely to the health and beauty of your smile, one of our dentists will carefully evaluate your broken tooth and help you determine the method that will best restore the beauty and strength of your smile.
What Are The Risks Of Not Repairing A Broken Tooth?
Because a broken tooth or deep fracture affects the dentin and possible the pulp chamber, it is necessary to obtain dental care right away. When a tooth is badly injured, bleeding is more severe. This increases the likelihood that the tooth will die and need to be extracted. Prompt dental care is the best way to elevate the chances of saving the tooth.
Without repair, the broken tooth is highly susceptible to inflammation and infection. Jagged edges in the break also present a risk of injury to the soft tissue around the tooth, such as the tongue or the cheek. Finally, a tooth that is broken is unstable and prone to further injury.
Will Insurance Cover A Broken Tooth?
Dental treatment for a chipped or broken tooth is typically covered under insurance benefits revolving around restorations such as fillings, crowns, or bonding. Covering varies from one insurance carrier to another. It may be necessary to contact your provider for detailed information regarding copays, deductibles, or percentages.
Do I Need To Make An Appointment To Repair A Broken Tooth?
At Drs of Smiles, patients can benefit from emergency dentistry services that accommodate situations such as chips and fractures without delay.
We understand the stress that a broken tooth creates.
In addition to offering emergency care on a same-day basis whenever possible, we also address patients’ fears with a menu of sedation services. It is important to us that each patient knows we have their best interest at heart during situations when stress may be high. Our team takes to time carefully evaluate the extent of the tooth injury before explaining the most appropriate treatment options to immediately repair the tooth.
Schedule A Consultation
We are open 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, with a doctor on call for after-hour emergencies.
Dr. Scott LeSueur, Dr. Glenn LeSueur, and Dr. Charles Dodaro are Mesa dentists, serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, and other East Valley Cities in Arizona, combine LVI training and state-of-the-art technology to bring you, and your entire family, the very best and healthiest cosmetic and neuromuscular dental care.