In the United States, we place a high value on the appearance of our teeth, as those who are visibly missing teeth are perceived as careless or having poor hygiene. But unexpectedly damaging a front tooth can happen to anyone. Sudden or unexpected trauma to the face is a common cause of tooth loss, chipping, or damage to the front teeth. When you chip, break or lose a front tooth suddenly, you will need to act quickly to ensure that your teeth and appearance can be restored to as close an approximation to their previous condition as possible. The first thing you should do is place any broken tooth matter into cold milk and contact your dental care professional as soon as possible.
Saving Your Damaged Tooth
If the damage to your tooth is severe, you should ask your dentist whether the tooth can be saved before you consider oral surgery to remove or extract it. Your dentist should be able to tell you whether or not repairing the tooth is possible, and whether he or she can do the work- or if they will want to refer you to a specialist.
When to Save a Broken Tooth
Our teeth are held in place largely with the help of the surrounding teeth. When a tooth is completely displaced, the other teeth will move into the empty space to some degree. This shifting can happen very rapidly, making replacement impractical, or impossible.
With a chipped or broken tooth, the missing or damaged portion can be saved or replaced if the remaining tooth, root, gums and surrounding teeth are still healthy.
The nature of the breakage event can tell you a lot about your chances of repairing the tooth. If your tooth was broken or knocked out by a significant impact such as in a motor vehicle collision or sports related accident, and your teeth were in good condition prior to the indecent- you may have a good chance of repairing the damage. If, however, the breakage was caused by a minor collision, there is a chance that your teeth and gums may not be strong enough, or healthy enough to support a repair intervention.
When Not to Save Your Tooth
Not every broken tooth can or should be saved. Repairing a broken tooth can be expensive and sometimes impractical depending on the nature of the damage and the condition of your other teeth. After your dental care professional has evaluated your teeth, you will be able to decide whether repair, replacement or some other intervention will be best.
What to Expect at the Dentist
Your dentist will usually want to X-ray the area affected to make a complete diagnosis. Broken teeth may be splinted to the remaining teeth during the healing process. If the tooth is avulsed, your dentist may attempt to reinsert it. You can expect to be asked to make a series of follow up appointments so that your dental care provider can assess the healing process.
If your broken front tooth cannot be saved, your dentist will discuss your options with you. Your options may include a bridge, crown, or partial denture.
Call today or visit us to learn more about what to do both before and after breaking a tooth, and how your dental care provider can help. Our professionals are standing by to take your questions.