Your teeth can chip, crack, or fracture despite how strong they are. This can happen due to several reasons such as falling, having cavities, biting onto something hard, etc. When your teeth fracture or break, they don't bring the best out of your smile.

You need to seek professional dentistry services to repair your fractured and broken tooth to restore your smile. Please schedule an appointment with our Washington dental clinic in Lomita for the best repair services for your fractured or broken teeth. 

Causes of Broken, Chipped, or Fractured Teeth

Several exciting and rare instances lead to broken or fractured teeth. You can avoid most of these situations. Check out these common causes of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth.

Failure to Use a Mouth Guard

Those involved in contact sports should use mouth guards to protect their teeth. According to the American Association, one-third of all dental injuries are sports-related, meaning that most athletes don't use their mouth guards as required.

Chewing on Ice or Other Hard Objects

Ice and other hard objects like popcorn kernels and corn nuts can be dangerous to your teeth. Try to avoid chewing on these objects since they have the highest likelihood of cracking or chipping your teeth. If you're more addicted to chewing, you should look for sugar-free gum.

Using Your Teeth to Open Things

You probably have been warned overtime not to open things with your mouth. Unfortunately, for some reason, people still do this since it's more accessible rather than finding an opener or scissors. If you are used to this habit, there are chances that you'll end up fracturing your teeth.

Grinding Your Teeth While Clenching or Bruxism

Most patients find themselves clenching their jaw on several occasions- a habit known as bruxism. Often, this is caused by anxiety or stress or occurs while sleeping. Grinding your teeth doesn't automatically fracture or break your teeth, but you might end up damaging your teeth if done over a long time.

Use of Tongue and Mouth Piercing

Tongue and mouth piercing are more recent causes of cracked or chipped teeth. Those with these piercings will probably bump their teeth against them, resulting in the fracture or breaking of their teeth.

Poor Hygiene

Poor oral care can make your teeth vulnerable to fracture or breaking. This happens when your tooth enamel is damaged or thinned. Your enamel can damage if you are used to consuming a lot of acidic foods and drinks.

Having Large Cavities

Large cavities weaken the teeth. If you don't notice the decay and have it fixed, it can put your tooth at risk of fracturing.

Fixing Cavities with Metallic Amalgam

Sometimes fixing a cavity can put you at risk, even when you use the wrong type of metal amalgam. Using the wrong amalgam weakens your teeth over time, especially when it's placed for a long time. Therefore, there are chances of breaking your teeth as a result.

Car Accidents

A car accident can cause severe damages to your teeth. Ideally, modern vehicle restraint systems should protect your face and mouth from the damages of your mouth in an accident, but they don't always achieve this. Some restraint systems like airbags can also cause a broken tooth if they are defective, poorly designed, or old.

What You Should Do Immediately After Breaking or Fracturing Your Teeth

The kind of actions you'll take after breaking or fracturing your teeth depends on the damage you've experienced. If you have fractured your tooth, you should call your dentist immediately. There's no ideal way to treat a fractured tooth at home.

Sometimes, it might seem as if your fractured tooth is okay. However, you might start feeling a slight pain when taking too hot or cold beverages. If your pain persists, there are chances that you have damaged a nerve or a blood vessel.

The pain usually occurs when you bite down and release the teeth. Seeing your dentist as soon as possible will ensure that you receive the best attention that you need.

The measures you'll take for your broken tooth are different from a fractured tooth. Once you've broken your tooth, you can take time to determine whether a cavity caused its breaking. Sometimes your tooth's nerve can be in danger, which might require an extensive treatment process like a root canal.

Meanwhile, do the following once you've broken your tooth:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water
  • Use a piece of gauze to apply pressure into the broken tooth if it's bleeding
  • Apply a cold pack against the cheek or lips to ease the swelling
  • Taking some over-the-counter pain reliever
  • If the break has caused a jagged or sharp edge, cover your tooth with sugarless chewing gum or a piece of wax paraffin to keep it from cutting your tongue or inside of your cheek or lips
  • If you want to continue eating, eat soft foods and avoid biting down using the broken tooth

 If you can't visit a dentist immediately, your drugstore will cement your tooth temporarily to mitigate the situation. 

Repair Procedures for Fractured and Broken Teeth

The type of treatment that your dentist will decide to treat your fractured or broken teeth varies depending on the extent of damage that you've experienced. Below are the treatments that your dentist can recommend.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding or tooth bonding is a cosmetic dental procedure used in repairing broken or fractured teeth. It's also suitable for treating discolored teeth, lengthening a tooth, and treating the gaps between your teeth.

Dental Bonding Procedure

Your dentist will start your dental bonding process by helping you choose a composite resin that matches your natural teeth' color. He or she will then roughen the surface of your tooth and then apply a liquid that allows the bonding agent to stick to the tooth.

The dentist will then apply the composite resin over the liquid, mold or shape the tooth, and then harden it using ultraviolet light. If necessary, the dentist will further shape the tooth after the resin has hardened.

There are no significant risks associated with teeth bonding. However, keep in mind that the composite resin used in this procedure is not as strong as your natural teeth. Therefore, there is a possibility that the composite can chip and separate from your natural tooth.

Bonded teeth might chip if you eat ice, chew on pencils, bite your fingernails, or bite down on candy or other hard foods. That's why you should avoid these items once your tooth is bonded.

The resin used in this process is not as stain-resistant as other dental materials. Therefore, your bonded tooth might discolor if you're a regular smoker or drink coffee regularly.

Taking Care of Your Bonded Teeth

You should adopt relevant care measurements of your bonded tooth if you want it to last. Some of the self-care tips include the following:

  • Avoid biting your nails
  • Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily
  • Avoid eating hard food and candy
  • Avoid coffee, tobacco, tea for the first few days after the procedure
  • Scheduling regular dental cleaning twice a year

Dental Veneers

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) describes veneer as a thin piece of porcelain used to recreate the natural look while providing the strength and natural look of the enamel. Veneers are widely preferred over crowns and braces due to their less intrusive capabilities. Dentists can use them to close gaps in a fractured or broken tooth.

The most common material used in dental veneer is porcelain, composite resin, and Lumineers. Porcelain veneers are the most durable ones and can last up to twenty years if they are well cared for. They can cost you $800 to $2000, depending on where you live.

How Veneers Are Placed

A typical veneer placement takes one or two appointments. If your dentist has a prefabricated veneer, it can take one appointment. However, if your veneer has to be made in a laboratory, it takes two appointments. Below is a highlight placement process for porcelain veneers created in a laboratory:

  • Dentists don't require local anesthesia when placing veneers. However, depending on the patient's level of sensitivity, the dentist can decide to use it. The dentist will then clean the tooth and determine the correct shade for the veneer. Afterward, the dentist will remove a small amount of enamel of the tooth to provide room to place the new veneer on the tooth
  • An impression of the tooth is made in the laboratory to make a temporary veneer. The temporary veneer is placed on the tooth, while the spot etching is placed in the center of the tooth
  • After the laboratory technicians deliver the porcelain veneer to your dentist, the temporary one is removed. The tooth is cleaned with water and pumice. The dentist will then etch and thoroughly rinse the tooth and air-dry it. the adhesive is placed on the preparation, and the cement is placed to fit the contour
  • The veneer is then cured using light for sixty seconds on all surfaces to attach it to the tooth structure
  • Your dentist will then complete the process by removing excess materials and polishing the margins of the veneers

 Most dentists usually schedule a follow-up visit to check on the comfortability of the veneer. Having a comfortable veneer ensures its longevity.

Taking Care of Your Veneers

You'll likely experience soreness and feel uncomfortable a few months after the veneers have been placed. You might also experience some tooth sensitivity at the point of the bonding cement. The discomfort is entirely normal and will pass as your mouth adjusts to the veneers. However, it's recommendable to have some painkillers with you just in case the pain persists.

Treat your veneers like you would with your regular teeth. This means that you should continue brushing twice and flossing regularly. Ensure that you avoid chewing on anything that can fracture your teeth if you want the veneer to last for a long time.

 Your veneer can last up to twenty years. After these years have passed by, you need to look for a new set due to your teeth' regular wear and tear. In case one of the veneers is damaged early, your dentist can replace it individually.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over a tooth to cover it. The purpose of using a dental crown is to restore the tooth's shape, size, and strength after its fracturing or breaking. Once the crowns have been cemented in place, it fully encases the whole visible part of the tooth lying above the gum line.

Types of Available Crowns

Permanent crowns are made from metals such as stainless steel and other alloys containing gold. They are also made out of all resin, all-porcelain, and porcelain that’s fused with metal. Let's have a closer look at these different types of crowns:

  1. Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are usually prefabricated crowns used as temporary measures on broken or fractured teeth. This type of crown is used to protect a fractured or broken tooth prepared as the permanent one is being made. This kind of crown is suitable for children since it doesn't require several dental visits.

  1. Metallic Crowns

Metallic crowns are made of alloys with high content platinum, gold, or base-metal alloys like nickel-chromium and cobalt-chromium. These crowns can withstand biting and chewing forces well and would probably last longer before it wears down. The only drawback is their metallic color which doesn't bring the natural tooth color out. Therefore, they are usually good choices for out-of-sight molars.

  1. Porcelain Fused to Metal

Porcelain-fused-to-metal is a type of dental crown that matches the neighboring teeth. However, it wears more quickly than natural teeth. It can also break off or fracture more easily. It's the closest thing to the natural look of your natural teeth, although part of the metallic part can show as a dark line, particularly on someone with a receding gum line. It's best suited for people whose back teeth have broken or fractured.

  1. All- Resin

All-resin dental crowns are usually more affordable than other available crowns. However, they usually wear down with time and can fracture more than the porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

  1. All- Porcelain or All-Ceramic Crowns

The all-porcelain or all-ceramic crowns provide a better natural color than all other crowns. It is suitable for people allergic to metal and is usable in both the front and the back teeth. 

Steps Used in Placing Dental Crowns

Placing a dental crown requires two dental visits. The first visit involves examining and preparing the tooth, while the second involves the placement of a permanent crown. Let's have a closer look at these two visits:

First Visit: Examination and Preparation of the Teeth

At your first visit, your dentist will take several X-rays to check the tooth’s root so that the crown will be placed. Dentists will likely recommend a more extensive dental treatment process like root canal treatment for teeth that are extensively damaged or decayed.

Before the crown-making process begins, the dentist will numb your tooth and its surrounding gum tissues. Next, they will reshape the tooth receiving the crown, including its sides and chewing surface, to create room for the crown. The extent of enamel that the dentist will remove depends on the specific type of crown used. However, if your tooth doesn’t have a significant surface, your dentist might use a filling material to support your crown.

After the dentist reshapes the tooth, he or she will typically use putty or paste to make an impression of your tooth, although digital scanners are used to make the impression nowadays. The dentist will create an impression of the top and bottom of the tooth to ensure that the crown doesn't affect your bite.

The impression or scan is then sent to the dental laboratory to manufacture the crown. The crown-making process will typically last for two or three weeks, depending on the amount of work that the laboratory has to handle. For porcelain-made crowns, the dentist will select the shades that closely match the adjacent teeth’ color.

At times, the dentist can place temporary crowns to protect and cover your prepared teeth as the crowns are made. This type of crown is acrylic-made and is usually held using temporary cement.

After the dentist has placed the temporary crown, he or she will give you a set of instructions on how to take care of the crown. Some of the instructions that you'd receive from the dentist include the following:

  • Avoid eating sticky foods since they have the potential to grab and pull off your crown
  • Minimize the use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown. Shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of your mouth
  • Avoid chewing hard foods like raw vegetables, which could dislodge or break your crown
  • Slide your dental floss rather than lift it when cleaning in between your teeth to avoid pulling off the temporary crown

Second Visit: Placing of the Permanent Crown

The dentist will remove the temporary crown at your second visit and check whether your permanent crown will fit your prepared tooth. If everything goes as planned, they will numb your tooth and place your new crown using the permanent cement.

Potential Problems That Would Develop with Your Dental Crown

Your dental crown might develop some experience depending on how you take care of it. Some of the experiences include the following:

  1. Sensitivity or Discomfort

Your newly crowned teeth can be sensitive immediately after the procedure and once the anesthesia begins to wear off. If the crowned tooth has nerves in it, you might experience cold or heat sensitivity. Your dentist will probably recommend brushing the teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. The pain or sensitivity usually occurs when you make a hard bite using the crown tooth.

  1. Chipping of the Crown

Crowns made out of all-porcelain or fused with metal are susceptible to fracturing. Dentists can repair minor chips using composite resin while the crown remains in your mouth. For extensively chipped crowns, your dentist will probably replace the crown.

  1. Loose Crown

Sometimes your cement might wash away under the crown. This can allow the crown to loosen and allow bacteria to leak inside, causing decay of your remaining tooth. Contact your dentist's office if the crown begins to loosen.

  1. Crown Falling Off

Your crown can sometimes fall off, despite its resilience. The decaying of the underlying tooth can make your crown loosen and fall off. In case your crown falls off, clean the tooth crown and the front of your tooth. There are temporary crowns and adhesive substances available in local stores to use before you contact your dentist. However, it's essential to contact your dentist to receive instructions on how to take care of the crown and tooth until the scheduled appointment day.

  1. Potential Allergic Reactions

If your dentist uses a metallic crown, there are chances of experiencing some allergic reactions. However, allergic reactions to the porcelain and metal used are infrequent.

  1. Dark Lines on the Crowned Tooth Close to the Gum Line

Having a dark line close to the gum line on a crowned tooth is normal, especially for those with porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. The dark line means that the crown is showing through. There is no problem related to this situation, but the dark line is not cosmetically accepted. Therefore, your dentist might recommend replacing your crown with ceramic or porcelain ones.

Find the Best Emergency Dentist Near Me

Are you tired of your broken or fractured teeth controlling your self-confidence? Want to regain your healthy smile? Look no more. Our Washington Dental offices in Lomita, CA, specializes in emergency dentist services and various other dental services. We believe that a happy smile is a healthy smile. That’s why we are ready to offer the best results to anyone who depends on our services. Contact us today, and let's help you take charge of your dental health.