A broken tooth is one of the most common dental emergencies. Often a tooth breaks at the most inconvenient time, such as eating pork crackling on Christmas Day. Sometimes a tooth can break while eating the softest of foods; there’s reasons for that.
Usually if a tooth breaks it is not painful. Sometimes the tooth can have increased sensitivity to cold and may be sharp and hurt your tongue or cheek. Prior to breaking, a tooth may have minor pain on biting. Very occasionally a tooth can break at an unfavourable angle or even split in two which means the tooth cannot be fixed and must be removed.
If a tooth breaks exposing a nerve it is normally extremely painful. If the nerve is exposed it’s best to see a dentist immediately. Any delay may result in the tooth being lost.
Why do teeth break?
Teeth break for a variety of reasons. The most common cause of teeth breaking is dental amalgam (silver) fillings. Dental amalgam is an alloy of silver, mercury and a variety of other metals. It has a silver to black colour. Dental amalgam has been the most common filling material for over 165 years and most people have at least one or two dental amalgam fillings. They last very well but one major reason it is no longer used, is that dental amalgam corrodes over time and expands with age. As it expands the metal pressures the tooth essentially pushing it apart from inside out. Over time this causes small tooth cracks and eventually it breaks or shatters. Broken teeth can usually be saved but if the break is severe, it needs extraction.
Teeth can also break from excessive force. This can be from a variety of sources such as eating something very hard or an accidental knock to the face. Excessive force can also come from teeth grinding and clenching. Most people are unaware that they grind their teeth as it usually happens at night when they are asleep. The force of grinding wears teeth down but it can crack perfectly healthy teeth, especially if weakened by dental amalgam fillings.
Another common reason for broken teeth is root canal treated tooth without a strong enough protective cap. Root canal treatment is excellent for keeping natural teeth longer, but result in more brittle teeth than normal teeth unless given a strong cap. It is best to have a root canal treated tooth reinforced with a stronger restoration like a ceramic crown to greatly decrease its risk of breaking. People having root canal treatments without a stronger ceramic crown restoration risk it breaking, requiring further treatment or even tooth loss.
Broken Teeth Treatment
The highest priority when a tooth breaks and is painful is to visit the dentist to have it assessed. Depending on the circumstances, the dentist considers various options to treat or save the tooth, prevent future problems and resolve any pain. These are discussed with the patient for their decision.
Call us at Avenue Dental Caloundra, Kawana, Maroochydore, Bli Bli, North Lakes and Baringa before 10am to be seen that same day, guaranteed.