How to Fix a Broken Tooth

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Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, but it can still be broken. Teeth can become chipped or cracked as the result of many things. Common causes of broken teeth include trauma from an accident, using teeth incorrectly for opening packages or to hold things, and biting down on hard foods. Unfortunately, once your tooth enamel has been damaged, it is unable to fix itself. 

This means that a damaged tooth will remain damaged, unless it is restored by a dentist. It is strongly recommended to have a damaged tooth evaluated and treated by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent further complications. This is because damaged enamel can no longer protect the inside of the tooth from bacteria. As a result, chipped or cracked teeth can lead to a pulp infection and/or additional damage. 

Luckily, your dentist offers a variety of options for fixing broken teeth. The type of treatment that is right for you will depend on the type and extent of the damage, as well as the location of the affected tooth. During your exam, your dentist will assess the damage and make recommendations. They may offer you one or more of the following choices to fix your broken tooth: 

Composite Bonding

Composite bonding uses tooth-colored composite resin bonded to the tooth enamel in order to repair damage to the tooth. This composite resin is applied to the damaged area and then hardened in place to repair the damage. This procedure can completely restore a damaged tooth in a single dental appointment, while preserving the majority of the healthy tooth structure.  It is ideal in cases where the damage is mild and only requires minimal repairs. 

onlay being placed over tooth

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings used to repair larger areas of damage on the chewing surface of the teeth. They are fabricated from porcelain before being cemented into the mouth. Because of this, they usually take about two dental appointments to place. In the meantime, you will be given a temporary restoration. Inlays are used in the center of the tooth, while onlays are slightly larger and also encompass one or more of the tooth’s points. 

Veneers

Veneers are thin shells made of porcelain that are applied to the front surface of a broken tooth in order to repair it. They are commonly used to repair chipped or worn enamel, but they can also correct a variety of other cosmetic concerns. Like inlays and onlays, veneers are fabricated in a dental lab before being cemented onto the surface of the teeth, meaning that it takes two dental appointments to place veneers.  In the meantime, you will be given a temporary restoration. Additionally, veneers may also require the removal of some enamel, making them a permanent treatment. 

Crowns

dental crown being placed over tooth

Crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are fabricated to fit over the entire damaged tooth in order to protect the remaining natural tooth structure. They are often used when the damage is extensive or has reached the pulp layer. They may also be used when there are multiple cracks in a tooth. To place a dental crown, your dentist will need to reduce the size of the tooth so that a crown can be placed over the top without changing your bite. Depending on the extent of the damage, composite resin may also be used to build up parts of the tooth to provide stabilization for the crown. Dental crowns are also indirect restorations, meaning that two appointments are necessary to complete the process. In the meantime, you will be given a temporary restoration. 

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