What is a broken tooth?A broken tooth is a fracture, chipping, splitting or a crack of a tooth (infracture). If a dental fracture is suspected, consultation with a dentist is required.
A broken tooth is a fracture, chipping, splitting or a crack of a tooth (infracture). A shock, a bump, a bite on something hard, an accident or intentionally induced pressure on the tooth by instruments in the tooth removal are triggers of the so-called tooth fracture.
Chipped teeth occur on both primary teeth and permanent teeth. The person concerned perceives the tooth fracture through pain or injury in the mouth. Injuries are caused by the sharp edges of the broken tooth.
If a dental fracture is suspected, consultation with a dentist is required. He will decide if he can reconstruct the tooth or if he has to extract it and replace it. Chipped teeth are statistically more common in children and adolescents than in adults.
A broken tooth occurs when the external impact on the tooth substance is so high that it no longer holds and breaks. This is the case with external violence. These are bumps or blows.
Even accidents, such as a fall on the mouth, are a cause. Children and adolescents are particularly affected because they are moving a lot. Accidents that can cause a tooth fracture also happen while playing sports or riding a bicycle or car.
Food can also trigger a tooth fracture if it contains hard ingredients such as fruit seeds, bones or nutshells. When extracting a tooth, the dentist may deliberately cause a tooth fracture to help him extract the tooth better. Already treated teeth break easier than healthy ones.
Since the natural dentin is harder than filler materials, teeth that are filled with caries to a large extent with filling materials, easier. Also, root-treated teeth are more prone to fracture because they remove nerve branches and blood vessels from the tooth. This leads in the long run to a lack of supply of the tooth and thus to increased porosity.
Diseases with this symptom
- sports injuries
- tooth fracture
Diagnosis & History
The person concerned usually notices the broken tooth immediately after the fracture has occurred. A noticeable and audible cracking often accompanies the moment of breaking off. The person also feels a painful pressure in the jaw and tooth area, which triggers the force of the violent influence.
Depending on how pronounced the tooth fracture is, there will be no, little or severe pain. If only part of the enamel has been broken off, the affected person first notices the new shape of the tooth. It may have sharp edges and cause injury to the mouth. For deep-going fractures, the nerve canal of the tooth nerve is open. This leads to considerable pain due to the irritation of the nerve.
A broken tooth is usually harmless. However, complications can occur. Probably the most common complication is the ingestion of the broken tooth or aborted tooth part. In this context, however, it should be noted that swallowing the broken tooth usually causes no discomfort. Only aspiration of the broken tooth can lead to threatening complications.
During aspiration, the broken off part of the tooth is inadvertently inhaled, ie it enters the trachea. As a reflex, a coughing irritation usually occurs. This cough stimulus aims to transport the swallowed part of the broken tooth from the trachea. If this is not successful, it is advisable to consult a doctor, as the aspiration of the tooth can have serious consequences, including pneumonia. However, this is extremely rare. A much more common complication is the exposure of the tooth interior.
This makes the tooth very vulnerable. The ingress of bacteria into the exposed interior of the tooth can cause tooth decay. In the worst case it comes to an inflammation of the tooth root or the nerve. This can lead to the death of the nerve, which makes the preservation of the tooth unlikely. For this reason, it is useful and important to visit a dentist when canceling a tooth. Examination by the dentist can detect or eliminate such complications.
When should you go to the doctor?
The consultation of a dentist is generally recommended for a broken tooth. A person skilled in the art should check if there are exposed cervicals, open nerve endings, or splinters that have slipped into the gum pockets. The risk of inflammation increases when no control takes place. The remaining tooth may have other problems. He may not be sufficiently protected.
This makes him more susceptible to germs, viruses or bacteria that are in the mouth and throat of the person concerned. This increases the risk of suffering further dental diseases such as tooth decay or periodontal disease. It may be that the broken tooth exposes the tooth root or the tooth nerve. Both are painful for the patient and can lead to inflammation with pus formation beyond the affected tooth. The risk of the remaining tooth nerve dying increases.
This usually means that the tooth can not be used in the later course for a tooth structure. He must be completely removed in a surgical procedure. A broken tooth can cause the periodontium to lose its strength. Depending on the structure of the jawbone and teeth, there may be a relaxation of the surrounding teeth. A regression of the gums is given. This can lead to further tooth loss or sensitive teeth.
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Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of a broken tooth depends on the type of fracture. The dentist will find out if the tooth nerve, the so-called tooth pulp, is affected or not. He reconstructs the broken tooth in many cases.
If only the enamel is affected, the dentist replenishes the tooth with restorative materials. If the tooth nerve is affected, it performs a root canal treatment and fills the tooth. He may put on a crown or a partial crown. The latter is necessary for large tooth substance losses. If the tooth is broken off at the level of the cervix but the root is preserved in the jaw, the dentist tries to expose a piece of the root. He can then shape a crown. Alternatively, a root canal treatment is performed and a crown is made.
If the person has kept the broken tooth fragment and visits a dentist as soon as possible after the fracture, the fragment may possibly be glued on again. This is possible if the fragment has been preserved, for example in a tooth-rescue box, a glass of milk or a liquid containing alcohol, and the tooth nerve is unaffected.
If the tooth root is broken, the tooth may still be reconstructed. For fractures in the middle root area and in vertical root fractures, the tooth must be extracted.
Outlook & Forecast
When a tooth breaks off, it usually causes a lot of pain. Therefore, anyone who does not have a broken tooth treated quickly can run the risk of igniting the tooth root and gums around it. Usually the complete tooth has to be removed or covered with the help of a crown.
It is now easier for dirt to penetrate the tooth, which is why tooth rinses and dental floss should be used for a broken tooth.
The broken piece is usually replaced with the help of a filling or a crown. Usually, the treatment proceeds without any problems, only in rare cases, the filling must be removed again, if the tooth has ignited deeper. A good filling can last for several years and does not have to be changed.
If the broken piece is relatively large, it can be stored and later rejoined to the rest of the tooth. Here, however, must be acted quickly. In case of heavy bleeding, the place must be well cooled so that there is no swelling and no inflammation.
A broken tooth can be prevented conditionally. Good dental hygiene prevents carious defects, so that the natural dentin is preserved and does not have to be replaced by artificial filling materials.
The regular visit to the dentist is also part of caries prophylaxis. In addition, preparations for preserving and hardening the enamel can be used. For sports with a high accident risk, it is advisable to wear a mouth and mouthguard.
Especially with children and adolescents, broken teeth can not always be avoided, which is why a dentist should be consulted immediately if a dental fracture is present.
You can do that yourself
A broken tooth initially causes fright in most people, but the situation is less threatening than is generally believed. In a dental accident, the patient should keep calm as possible. Bleeding must be stopped. For this gauze bandages or compresses, ie dressing materials from the medicine cabinet are suitable. Another lint-free textile piece can be used.
Unfortunately, a piece of the incisor often breaks off, which is unpleasant and therefore requires quick action. Also for medical reasons, a quick treatment should be done. If the broken piece can still be found, it can be taken to the dentist. It is possible to glue it back. This is the simplest reconstruction of the tooth, but its success depends on the existing tooth structure. Before, the piece should be washed off with clear water and then transported in a plastic box.
If the broken piece is large, a part of the tooth interior may be exposed. Then a timely doctor's visit is urgently advisable. If the patient waits too long, there can be complications. For reconstruction, bridge, implant or denture are available. Which option is eligible, the dentist must judge. If the tooth is completely broken off, but the root is still in the jaw, it must be surgically removed. The gap is closed later with an implant or a bridge.