Having a broken tooth isn’t any fun. Despite the fact that a broken tooth can often be a cosmetic concern, there’s also a good chance that your broken tooth has sharp edges that can cut the inside of your mouth. On top of that, a broken tooth can be very painful, depending on the kind of damage it has, and this pain may worsen the longer a tooth’s left untreated. Depending on what caused your tooth to break, there may be multiple ways to fix it. Here’s how to fix a broken tooth in various instances.
How to Fix a Cracked Tooth
Cracked teeth aren’t all the same, so there are different way to fixed cracked teeth depending on the damage. If your tooth is cracked, your dentist will recommend one of the following treatments:
- Crack in tooth crown: if a crack doesn’t spread further than the crown and it hasn’t damaged your tooth root, it can be fixed using dental fillings and crowns. In some cases, dental inlays and onlays might be an option. If you suspect the tooth won’t last long after being crowned, getting a dental implant might be best.
- A split tooth: if the crack splits the tooth all the way down to the root, separating the tooth into two different parts, it will usually have to be replaced with a dental implant. Although you might be able to crown a molar if your dentist doesn’t have to remove all its roots.
- Split roots: split roots start in the root of your tooth rather than the crown, meaning that you might not be able to see any damage to your tooth despite having pain and inflammation. Chances are your tooth will need to be extracted. You can replace it using a dental implant.
How to Fix a Broken Tooth
If your tooth has broken in another way, and it isn’t obviously split or cracked, your treatment options might differ. Below is a list of different ways a tooth can break and how to fix it:
- Broken cusp: a broken cusp is when one of the pointed parts a molar breaks off completely. Most often, this kind of damage is fixed using onlays and dental crowns.
- Severe breaks: severe breaks occur when a tooth is broken all the way to its nerve. Because of this, severe breaks are can bleed, and are often very painful. A severely broken tooth will usually require your dentist to perform a root canal and place a crown.
- Chips: chips are usually seen in the front teeth. if the chip is very small, treatment is optional rather than necessary. For large chips, your dentist can recommend a crown, dental bonding or implant. Small chips are more of a cosmetic problem and they can be fixed with dental bonding or veneers, should you wish for your smile to look healthier.
- Breaks caused by decay: this is when your tooth broke as a result of a dental cavity that formed, weakening the tooth structure. For this kind of damage, your dentist will have to evaluate you and recommend treatment options, as the extent of the damage can vary.
What to Do if Your Tooth is Knocked Out?
A hard knock can cause your tooth to fall out, but luckily it won’t always break. However, the tooth needs to be placed back as soon as possible. If you feel brave, you can do this yourself and visit your dentist for an emergency appointment to see that the tooth is properly in place.
If you lose a tooth, avoid touching the root. Pick up your tooth by its crown instead. If your tooth is dirty, gently rinse it, but don’t scrub or wipe it, and avoid letting it dry out. Next, you can reinsert the tooth in its socket immediately by either pushing it into the socket with your fingers, or biting down gently and slowly to push it back.
Placing the tooth back in its socket yourself is recommended, as the tooth has a better chance of surviving when it’s repositioned sooner after an accident. But if you aren’t feeling courageous, you can take the tooth to your dentist to have it repositioned. To preserve the tooth, you can place it in milk (not water), or keep it in your mouth. You can also use an emergency tooth preservation kit (like Save-A-Tooth), just don’t let your tooth dry out. You’ll have to go to your nearest dental office to have your tooth repositioned within the first 30 minutes after the injury.