A dental crown is one type of tooth reinforcement that may be required following a root canal procedure. A root canal involves removing the infected pulp of a tooth in an attempt to salvage it. Although the pulp is replaced with a suitable material, removing it can weaken the tooth, as can the drilling required…
When Is a Broken Tooth a Dental Emergency?
A broken tooth is one of those injuries that always seem to happen at the worst possible times. A common way that people chip or break teeth is by biting on something hard. Such injuries are more likely to occur when the tooth has already been weakened by tooth decay.
The severity of the damage to a broken tooth determines if it requires emergency dental care. Minor breaks tend to be more cosmetic in nature, so it okay to wait for a regular appointment when getting these treated. However, more serious damage to a tooth can open up its inner layers, leaving the blood vessels and nerves there exposed to bacteria and acids in the mouth.
Figuring out if a broken tooth counts as a dental emergency
When a tooth becomes damaged, assessing the extent of the damage is the first step toward treatment. Most breaks and chips will not require emergency care; only severe damage that reaches the pulp chamber and causes bleeding requires urgent dental care.
A tooth that has been split into two, broken off or damaged at its roots requires immediate dental care. The same goes for a tooth that has been knocked out of the mouth. A dentist might be able to reinsert a knocked-out tooth if the patient makes it to the clinic within a few hours. The patient gets to keep their real tooth, and their dental bills are lower.
People with broken teeth should clean their mouths with a saltwater rinse to remove any debris that might be left after the injury. Any recovered parts of the tooth should be stored in a wet piece of gauze and taken to the dentist.
Treating broken teeth
The severity of a chipped tooth determines how a dentist recommends treating it. Here are popular ways that dentists restore broken teeth.
Enamel reshaping: This is used to smooth out minor chips and breaks, restoring the aesthetics of damaged teeth.
Composite bonding: This involves applying a composite resin directly to the damaged tooth. The composite is a mixture of plastics and glass and has a putty-like constituency when first applied. It can be molded as desired before being hardened with a curing light.
Crowns: These versatile restorations are an effective way to treat moderate and severe breaks. The crown covers the visible part of the damaged tooth, eliminating any aesthetic issues caused by the break. The crown also helps prevent the rest of the tooth from falling apart, and it protects the tooth from acids and bacteria in the mouth.
Root canal: Root canal therapy is used to treat the most severe breaks. The process involves cleaning out the contents of the pulp chamber, disinfecting the tooth and sealing it up with gutta-percha. Teeth that have been restored with root canals are often covered with crowns to provide additional protection.
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