Experiencing an injury to your tooth is never a fun experience. Teeth that are already weakened by decay or have existing dental restorations can be more susceptible to chips and fractures. When you break a tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage or even an infection.
Your treatment will depend on how bad the damage is, but you may be wondering—should you repair or replace that broken tooth?
You May Be Able to Repair a Minor Break with a Dental Crown
If a big piece of your tooth is missing, your dentist may be able to repair it with a dental crown. A dental crown is a tooth restoration designed to accurately match your affected tooth. It acts as a cap which will cover the broken area and restore the function and appearance of your smile.
A dental crown will also protect the tooth from further damage . These restorations are secure and, while they will need to be replaced every so often, they can last for a decade or longer with the right care and are a viable long-term treatment option for a broken tooth.
More Severe Damage May Need a Root Canal
If your tooth break is more severe—such as if the entire top portion of your tooth is broken off—you may need a root canal to repair the problem .
A root canal will clean and seal the inside of your tooth, where the nerve tissue resides. Once the canal is prepared to prevent an infection and further damage, your dentist will finish restoring the tooth with a dental crown.
Today’s root canals aren’t much different than getting a filling and will allow you to retain what’s left of your natural tooth!
Sometimes Extraction Is Necessary
For some broken teeth, even the best repairs won’t be able to fix the problem. A root canal can help a broken tooth that has an intact root, but if the break extends below the gumline, extraction may be your only option.
Breaks that go beneath your gums typically aren’t able to be repaired by your dentist. Some patients may not even be able to see a crack or break from the outside, but the damage exists under the gums . Your dentist can let you know if an extraction is your only choice, and discuss your tooth replacement options with you during your appointment.
If you’ve experienced a broken tooth, don’t hesitate to reach out to your professional dentist. Getting a broken tooth examined sooner rather than later can increase your chances of a successful repair rather than an extraction. Likewise, ignoring a broken tooth can lead to an extraction when a repair would have sufficed if it had been treated earlier. Don’t ignore that broken tooth!