Broken Tooth Repair in St. Louis: Restoring Your Smile
Broken tooth repair in St. Louis. A broken tooth can be a painful and distressing experience. It can impact your daily activities such as eating and talking, and can also affect your self-confidence. Fortunately, there are several options available for repairing a broken tooth, depending on the severity of the damage. Plaza Dental Center is dedicated to helping St. Louis residents of all ages get the expert dental care they need, with a staff that is always friendly, professional, and helpful. If you need broken tooth repair in St. Louis, call Plaza today at 314-361-1818 or make an appointment online.
What to Do After a Broken Tooth?
Needing to fix a broken tooth is an emergency dental service, so you should make an appointment with a dentist in St. Louis as soon as possible. If you have a chipped tooth where you just lost some enamel, you may not feel any pain. The enamel that covers our teeth is the strongest tissue in our bodies. However, through decay or enough force, it can still be broken. When that happens, the inner pulp is exposed, leading to pain and, if untreated, infection.
There are some self-care measures you can take to help your early symptoms and ensure things at the dentist go smoothly:
- Gather any large pieces of the tooth that broke off
- Rinse what’s left of your tooth with warm water or salt water
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you’re experiencing pain (NOT a topical dental pain reliever)
- If the tooth has a jagged or sharp edge, you can cover it with a piece of sugarless gum
- Eat soft foods and avoid chewing on that side of your mouth
If you see any exposed yellow dentin or red tooth pulp, see your St. Louis dentist immediately.
5 Types of Broken Tooth
Broken teeth are often described by the severity of the chip or crack and its location on the tooth. Generally, there are five types of broken teeth:
- Craze lines are small cracks that only affect the outer enamel. They are common, and you may not notice you have it. They often don’t require treatment except for aesthetic reasons if the cracks are on the front teeth.
- A fractured cusp occurs when a piece of the tooth’s chewing surface breaks off. These are more common with people with fillings. These usually don’t damage the pulp and therefore don’t cause much pain, however you may experience some tooth sensitivity.
- A cracked tooth means a crack extends from the chewing surface of a tooth down to or beneath the gum line toward its root. As the crack can spread, saving the tooth requires an early diagnosis. If the crack extends below the gum line the tooth will likely have to be extracted.
- A split tooth occurs when a cracked tooth goes untreated. In these cases, the tooth has split into two separate parts all the way down to the root. Most times it won’t be possible to save the tooth.
- Vertical root fractures begin at the root of the tooth and extend up, instead of a crack on the chewing surface extending down. You may not have many symptoms, and often a vertical root fracture can go unnoticed for a long period. They often go unnoticed until the crack affects the surrounding gums and bone, however they can also be seen on an x-ray during your regular dentist appointment. The tooth may have to be extracted, but often an experienced St. Louis dentist can repair it with endodontic surgery.
If you think you’re having symptoms of a broken tooth, see a dentist as soon as possible. One of the benefits of having regular dental examinations is that your dentist can see any damage that you are not experiencing symptoms from.
Causes of Broken Teeth in St. Louis
A broken tooth is always surprising, but they usually happen because of a few basic causes. Some common causes include:
- Trauma to the mouth or face — A blow to the face or mouth, such as during sports or an accident, can cause a tooth to break.
- Biting down on hard objects — Biting down on hard objects such as ice, hard candy, nuts or inedible object can also cause a tooth to crack or break.
- Cavities or decay — When a tooth is weakened by decay, it can become more vulnerable to breaking.
- Poor dental hygiene — Not practicing good dental hygiene can weaken your enamel and surrounding tissue and make them more susceptible to damage.
- Teeth grinding — Also called bruxism, teeth clenching or grinding can cause teeth to become chipped.
It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage or infection. Ignoring a broken tooth can lead to more serious complications, such as infection, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
Treatment Options for Broken Teeth in St. Louis
The treatment for a broken tooth will depend on the type of break, where it is on the tooth, and the extent of the damage. The goal will be to try to save the tooth, but even if it has to be extracted an experienced dentist will be able to keep your teeth functional and return your full smile through other methods. Here are some options that your St. Louis dentist may recommend:
- Dental bonding — For minor chips or cracks, dental bonding may be an option. In this procedure, a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the damaged area and then hardened with a special light. Bonding can typically be completed in a single visit and is relatively inexpensive. Bonding is a good option for minor damage to the front teeth, but may not be recommended for more extensive damage.
- Dental veneers — For more extensive damage, a dental veneer may be recommended. A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain or composite material that is custom-made to fit over the front surface of the tooth. Veneers can improve the appearance of a broken tooth and can last for many years with proper care. The process involves removing a small amount of enamel from the damaged tooth, then bonding the veneer to the tooth. Veneers are more expensive than bonding, but can provide a long-lasting, natural-looking solution for a broken tooth.
- Dental crowns — For severe damage or decay, a dental crown may be necessary. A crown is a cap that is placed over the entire tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength. Crowns can be made from various materials, such as porcelain or metal, and can last for many years with proper care. The process involves removing the damaged portion of the tooth and placing a crown over the remaining healthy tooth structure. Crowns are often the best option for severe damage.
- Root canal — If the damage to the tooth has reached the pulp, or nerve, a root canal may be necessary. In this procedure, the damaged or infected pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned and sealed. A crown is then placed over the tooth to protect it and restore its function. Root canals are often necessary for restoring structure and preventing further damage to the tooth.
- Dental implants — If the broken tooth has to be extracted, dental implants are the modern alternative to permanent tooth replacement. With an implant, a metal screw will be attached to the bone in your jaw, and a porcelain crown that looks and acts just like a normal tooth is capped onto the screw. The process usually takes place in three appointments:
- The screw is attached
- After the screw forms a permanent bond with the bone, your St. Louis dentist will prepare impressions for the crown
- You receive your brand new tooth
Before the permanent replacement is ready, we can fit you to temporary replacements that also look and act like normal teeth.
Unlike fractures in other parts of the body, broken teeth do not completely heal. Getting treatment eases pain, makes it less likely that a crack will worsen, ensures the tooth can function normally, and can restore a confident, bright smile.
Preventing Broken Teeth in St. Louis
While accidents can happen, there are steps you can take to prevent broken teeth:
- Avoid chewing on hard objects — Hard objects such as ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels can cause a tooth to crack or break.
- Wear a mouthguard — If you engage in sports or other physical activities, wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth from trauma and injury.
- Practice good dental hygiene — Brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings and polishings can help keep your teeth healthy and strong.
- Address dental problems promptly — If you have a cavity or other dental issue, seek treatment as soon as possible. Ignoring dental problems can weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to damage.
- Consider protective dental treatments — If you have weak or brittle teeth, your dentist may recommend a protective dental treatment, such as a fluoride treatment or dental sealants, to help strengthen and protect your teeth.
Call Plaza Dental Center For Your Broken Tooth Repair in St. Louis
A broken tooth can be a painful and inconvenient experience, but there are several options available for repairing the damage. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage or infection. At Plaza Dental Center, we take great pride in helping St. Louis residents restore the function and confidence of their smiles. We’re especially interested in helping patients who feel nervous in the dentist’s chair get the dental care they need. Call 314-361-1818 today or make an appointment online for your broken tooth repair in St. Louis.