What Happens if I Leave a Broken Tooth Untreated?
Breaking a tooth can be a stressful situation, especially if the damage is severe or is in a tooth that’s visible when you smile. Fortunately, your dentist has several ways to treat broken teeth to help preserve their function and appearance.
What is a broken tooth, and why do they occur?
A broken tooth is one that has damage ranging from a chip in the enamel to a complete breakage that leaves dentin and pulp exposed. Breaks can occur because of the following reasons:
- Receiving a blow to the face – such as during sports or an accident
- Biting down on something hard
- Having dental problems such as large cavities or lost fillings
You may not necessarily feel any pain after a break, but if the dentin or pulp are exposed to air, the area will probably hurt.
Why do broken teeth need to be repaired?
Even small damage can spread and worsen over time since the tooth has been weakened. And if pulp has become exposed, bacteria can infect it, causing more pain and issues. In either case, if the damage is left untreated, you could eventually lose your tooth.
How are broken teeth repaired?
The type of treatment needed depends on the severity of the damage. The following are some common ways in which broken teeth are treated:
- Dental filling or bonding – can be used to repair small chips in the enamel. Bonding is usually needed if the damaged tooth can be seen when you smile. The dentist will roughen the tooth’s surface so the bonding material will adhere to it. An adhesive material and tooth-colored resin are then applied, and the bonding material is shaped and then hardened under an ultraviolet light.
- Crown – may be temporarily placed if the dentist wants to wait to see if the pulp is infected but needs to protect the tooth in the meantime. A permanent one can be used on a tooth that isn’t infected but is missing a large chip as well as after a root canal.
- Root canal – may be necessary if the tooth’s pulp is inflamed or infected. This procedure is used to remove the inflamed or infected pulp and clean and seal the space. During another appointment, your dentist can place a crown to help protect the tooth in the future.
What should you do immediately after you break a tooth?
Take the following steps right after breaking a tooth:
- See your dentist as soon as possible.
- If you have the broken pieces, put them in a clean, dry container to take to the dentist.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water to help remove dirt and debris.
- If a fall or blow to the face caused the break, use a cold compress to help prevent swelling.
- Take over-the-counter pain medicine if you need it.
- Use dental wax or sugarless chewing gum to cover any sharp or jagged edges.
- If you eat, choose soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth.
If you have a broken tooth, call Dental365 today at 844.365.DENTAL. We have locations throughout the New York Metropolitan Area – including Brooklyn, Long Island, and surrounding areas. We’re available for appointments, or you’re welcome to walk in, and we’re open seven days a week with extended hours on weekdays for your convenience. Dental365 also offers emergency services for situations just like these.