Your teeth are designed to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, even patients who never miss a day of brushing or skip their dental checkups can suffer harm to their smile. While teeth can break or deteriorate from severe decay or disease, accidental injuries are a common means of tooth damage. Whether you bit down on something too hard or hit your mouth during a bad fall, teeth can crack, chip or break in certain situations.
The good news is that modern dentistry offers more than one way to restore a tooth that has suffered damage. In fact, unless there is damage to the roots of the tooth, there is usually a way to fix it and avoid extracting and replacing it. The way we fix it, however, depends on the severity of the damage.
#1 Tooth Bonding/Filling
You may understand a dental filling as a way we repair a cavity. Since cavities are essentially tiny holes of decay in an otherwise healthy tooth, we can also use the same composite resin material to fix minor tooth damage. Tooth-colored fillings can act as bonding and repair small chips or cracks within a tooth, especially if the tooth does not need to regain notable strength. This is undoubtedly the cheapest and quickest option for repairing a damaged smile.
#2 Dental Crown
When it comes to restoring a seriously damaged tooth, nothing is more effective than placing a dental crown over the tooth for protection. Dental crowns provide complete coverage for damaged, cracked or broken teeth that may otherwise need removal. When a tooth has extensive damage or a deep crack, dental crowns can add strength and protection to the remaining tooth underneath. Dental crowns are formed to replicate the natural tooth and are permanently bonded in place. They can last for decades and are available in white to blend into your smile.
#3 Dental Inlays and Onlays
Another less known option for repairing teeth is an inlay or onlay. These are treatments that add protective porcelain to the outside of the tooth. This process is used when only one side or the top of the tooth needs restoration. Inlays and onlays are formed to fit over the tooth in the needed position and bonded into place. The material can be color-matched to your teeth, making it blend into your smile while giving your teeth the extra protection they need. In general, inlays and onlays are recommended when your tooth damage is too extensive for a dental filling but not enough to warrant a full dental crown.
The Cost of Waiting Too Late
If you have a damaged tooth, book your appointment with us at Grateful Dental. Time is of the essence when it comes to rebuilding a broken or chipped tooth – even if the tooth is not causing you pain or concern. For example, maybe you have a small chip on the top of your bottom tooth. It is not hurting and eventually smooths out to make it easy to chew and speak like normal. This type of chip may not even be visible to others when you smile. Before you put off or reject tooth repair, however, you should know that any type of structural damage in your tooth is compromising its health. In many cases, it is compromising your entire bite.
When a tooth chips or breaks, it may eventually slide out of alignment and cause neighboring teeth to shift. In addition, if the enamel of the tooth (outermost layer) is weakened or damaged, the tooth no longer has its maximum protection against decay-causing bacteria. The inner tooth nerves can suffer invasion of bacteria and infection, which will lead to a dental crown as well as root canal therapy or other dental treatments. You may even find that your damaged teeth discolor or become sensitive over time.
To ensure the most conservative tooth repair method, we urge patients to see us as soon as possible after chipping or fracturing a tooth. We are experts at fixing your smile! After carefully evaluating the type, location and severity of your tooth damage, you can trust us to promptly explain your best option for fixing it.