SCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA
Our dental enamel is as hard as steel but as brittle as glass. That’s why chips, fractures, or breaks are common in teeth. Sometimes, enamel damage may occur out of the blue as you chomp down on something hard, like a piece of candy or nuts. Other times, patients break a tooth from suffering a blow or injury to the mouth or face, which is often the case when roughhousing or playing sports. In some cases, a small tooth chip can easily be repaired in a single office visit, but what about when the tooth breaks in half? Can it be saved? So today on the blog, we’re sharing options for fixing a tooth that’s broken in half.
A word of caution, anytime you break a tooth, you should see the dentist as soon as possible to rule out nerve damage. Even if the tooth doesn’t hurt, get it checked because the chances are the break exposed the tooth’s sensitive underlayer known as the dentin. Dentin is more susceptible to sensitivity and decay and is the last layer before reaching the tooth’s pulp or nerve and blood supply. Therefore, see the dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damaging your tooth.
In the meantime, follow the steps below as you wait on your visit to a Scotts Valley emergency dentist.
- Rinse your mouth out with warm salt water to help reduce the risk of infection.
- Manage moderate pain with over-the-counter pain relievers.
- If the tooth or gum is bleeding, apply pressure using gauze, an old cloth, or a paper towel. If it doesn’t stop bleeding within ten minutes, try biting down on a wet tea bag to stop bleeding.
- Apply an ice pack to your face to reduce swelling. Never place an ice pack directly against your skin. Always wrap it in a thin cloth first.
- Take caution if you need to eat or drink anything and avoid chewing in the affected area of the damaged tooth.
Now, for the treatment options:
- Cosmetic bonding may be needed to fix a minor chipped tooth. This in-office procedure can be completed in one visit to our Scotts Valley cosmetic dentist’s office. The results will blend with your natural tooth structure so that the restoration looks natural. In order for cosmetic bonding to work, however, the damage must be minimal. With good care and maintenance, your newly repaired tooth may last up to ten years. However, if your tooth has more extensive damage, your dentist may recommend porcelain restoration.
- Veneers are porcelain coverings that cover the front and chewing surface of a tooth. The veneer is permanently bonded to the tooth and can be chosen in a shade that blends with your surrounding teeth for seamless results. Porcelain restorations can last for a decade or longer, as long as you practice good oral hygiene daily.
- Porcelain crowns are typically recommended when a tooth has sustained significant damage. A crown fits over the entire exterior of the tooth, all the way to the gumline. Once in place, it will look like a real tooth with its shape, color, and size blending with your other teeth. If, however, the damage has exposed the tooth’s nerve, a root canal may also be needed before permanently placing the crown over your tooth.
- A root canal is like a deep filing. It involves removing the tooth’s pulp and then filling the entire inside of the tooth, down to the tip of the root, with a special filling, and then the tooth is capped with a crown. The combination of these two procedures restores a damaged tooth and saves it from extraction.
- An extraction may be the last resort for a tooth that is broken so badly that it cannot sustain a restoration. Extracting a tooth involves removing it entirely, even the root. However, our Scotts Valley implant dentists can replace the missing tooth with an implant. If you choose to go this route, you may need to wait a few months for the jawbone to heal before it is ready to accept a dental implant.
Fix a broken tooth in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz
Fixing a broken tooth can be simple or may turn into a more complicated procedure. But in the end, our Scotts Valley cosmetic dentists can have you smiling confidently in no time. If you’ve suffered from a broken tooth, contact an emergency dentist near you in Scotts Valley to assess the damage and explore treatment options. Start by calling Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411 or visit our website today.