You’re enjoying a delicious handful of sugar-coated peanuts…actually, a second handful that you almost passed up. You bite down and hear a loud crunch, which just didn’t seem right. Your tongue makes a pulse-spiking discovery: A significant chunk of your upper left molar fractured, and the piece has already disappeared into the abyss.
While panic threatens to ruin your day, the chances are high that your broken tooth will continue functioning for years. Teeth, the hardest substance in our bodies, undergo a tremendous amount of stress every day. This rigid, crystal structure often develops small cracks, especially if filled with metal years ago. Thousands of chewing cycles combine with rapid changes in temperature from food and drink. The constant stress creates expanding micro-fractures that weaken the tooth enamel.
Broken Teeth Are Bound To Happen
It’s easy to blame the peanuts, but they’re just the final straw. While some teeth fracture from a single traumatic event, cumulative stress usually leads to compromised enamel. A soft peanut butter sandwich may even be the culprit if a tooth reaches the breaking point. The good news is that most breaks or chips don’t result in tooth extraction, and most of them don’t need a root canal treatment either. There are multiple approaches we can take to restore your smile in as little as two appointments in the event that your tooth breaks or chips.
Dr. Peter can assess the extent of the damage and the integrity of the remaining tooth. When we consider the options to preserve even one broken tooth, we use a conservative philosophy in our approach. Here are your options for restoring a broken tooth at Peter Family and Cosmetic Dentistry:
Crowns: Crowns cover the entire tooth and are best for teeth that have large breaks. A dental crown can completely restore the shape, look, and function of your natural tooth while protecting it from further damage.
Porcelain Veneers: Veneers can easily restore minor chips in teeth, especially if the broken part of your tooth is visible in your smile line. If the break or chip does not impact the overall function of your tooth, a dental veneer can beautifully restore its appearance.
Onlays: Onlays are created to cover one or both cusps of a damaged tooth. These are best for the back molars to restore the chewing surface of the tooth. Onlays blend seamlessly with the natural enamel and enhance both function and appearance.
When you come in for your initial dental appointment and we determine the best repair option, we will complete a preliminary treatment such as placing a temporary crown or veneer to protect your tooth while we create your permanent restoration
What Happens If You Don’t Fix Broken Teeth?
Leaving a broken tooth untreated is an option, but not without serious risk. Ultimately, the danger of tooth loss runs much higher than if you commit to preserving it. More of the tooth may break away or tooth decay may form in the exposed area which can cause more serious damage. Every traumatic event a tooth experiences will put more strain on the fragile nerve inside, making an abscess more likely.
If you find yourself with a broken or chipped tooth, Dr. Peter can assess the situation and recommend the best approach for your situation. Contact our Independence, KY dentist’s office today!