A broken tooth can be quite a scary experience, so it is important to know what to do right after the incident occurs. In this post, our BC orthodontists share some tips on what to do if your tooth has broken in half, and how it can be fixed.
Reasons Why Your Tooth May Have Cracked in Half
The most common cause of tooth damage is decay. Teeth with untreated cavities are much more likely to break and cause a dental emergency. This is yet another reason why it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene consistently.
A tooth may also crack because of injury. If you’re playing a contact sport and get hit in the mouth, the trauma can cause a tooth to break based on the severity of the impact. You can also sustain a cracked tooth due to the general wear and tear on your teeth from your everyday life. This could be from something as simple as chewing on something hard like a piece of candy. Teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching are also hard on your teeth and can wear them down to the point where a minor blow can cause a broken tooth.
Steps to Take Before You Make It to the Dentist If Your Tooth Cracked in Half
If your tooth has cracked in half but is still attached, all you can do is be extra cautious to not further the damage. Depending on when you can make it to the dentist, this may be a difficult task. Drinking and eating even soft foods can cause a tremendous amount of pain, and may break the tooth off altogether. That being said, try to avoid excessively hot and cold drinks, and if you must eat, eat the softest foods possible while trying to avoid using the broken tooth.
If the fracture has caused a portion of the tooth to come out, try to save it if possible. There is a chance that your dentist will be able to bond the broken portion back onto the remainder of the tooth.
Once the incident occurs, use clean gauze to bite down on to stop any bleeding. You can often effectively manage the pain using over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If your tooth has cracked in half but you feel no pain, it is still important to see a dentist right away.
What are the treatment options if my tooth breaks in half?
If your tooth broke in half, has chipped, or has significant damage due to trauma, there are various treatment options available. Depending on your specific case, some common treatment methods include:
An artificial or partial crown can be an effective way to repair a broken tooth. This is where a specially crafted tooth-like piece of porcelain, metal, or resin is made and then bonded to the natural tooth. This is often the most ideal treatment option for teeth that are still largely intact, but require extra protection against further damage.
Dental Bonding & Fillings
Dental bonding and filling are also options for treating a tooth that has cracked in half. Your dentist may be able to cement the pieces of the tooth back together, leaving them just as strong as they were before the incident. Depending on your circumstances, a dental filling may be used to repair the issue, just as if you were having a cavity filled in.
Depending on the severity of the crack or chip in the tooth, specific cosmetic methods may be necessary. This includes options such as cosmetic contouring. This is where a dentist polishes and cleans up jagged edges with special dental tools.
Root Canal & Extractions
If damage to the tooth is too extensive, like a broken in half tooth that exposes nerves and blood vessels in the pulp, a root canal or tooth extraction may be required. This may be the only treatment option if the root is damaged or there is a significant amount of infection. If the tooth requires extraction, your dentist will give you the best tooth replacement options based on your situation.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, getting to a dentist immediately is the most important thing to do if your tooth has been broken or cracked in half. Although not every instance of a broken tooth constitutes an emergency, it is always best to err on the side of caution when talking about your oral health.