If you lose part of a tooth to trauma, there are a few ways the dentist can make your tooth look good as new. The exact treatment method will depend on the severity and location of your break.
Severity comes down to which dental structures suffered the break. A simply crack in the upper dentin would be a mild break. Loss of more than half a tooth with damage to the interior pulp and root structures would be a severe break.
Here are a few potential treatment options you can discuss with your dentist.
1. Mild Break: Filling or Crown
A filling or crown is often enough to fix a break in the tooth's dentin. If the crack is deeper than it is wide, a filling material might be used to seal the hole and protect the inner tooth from bacteria and exposure.
Dental crowns are used when more of the tooth surface needs to be restored. The crown essentially serves as an artificial tooth cap and helps protect the existing dentin and enamel the crown covers.
2. Moderate to Severe Break: Root Canal and Crown
Damage to the pulp inside the tooth might require a root canal before the tooth's exterior is restored. Pulp is a collection of nerves, blood cells, and tissue inside the tooth's root canal.
In a root canal procedure, the dentist gains access to the pulp and cleans out any infected or damaged material. A filling material is then injected into the root canal to seal it closed to prevent infection from taking hold in the emptied space. The dentist will then close the tooth back up with an artificial crown.
Sometimes a tooth is broken to such a degree that there's not enough surface for the crown to adhere. The dentist might be able to perform a crown lengthening. This involves removing some of the gum and/or bone in order to expose more of the base of the tooth so that a dental crown can be attached.
3. Severe Break: Extraction and Dental Implant
It's not always possible to save a partly damaged tooth. If the damage has severed the root canal and the roots themselves, or if one entire side of the tooth is gone, it would be difficult to fix the problem with a crown. Your dentist might recommend extraction.
An extracted tooth needs to be replaced by an artificial tooth to prevent neighboring teeth from leaning into the hole and throwing off your bite. Dental implants are a popular option because their jawbone-inserted metal roots offer stability and a natural feeling bite.
To learn more, contact Welch Dental Care.