It is not uncommon to break a tooth while eating something hard, usually encountered while biting stuff like guava seeds, some sand or grit in pulses and similar hard food.
Although the enamel that covers your teeth is the hardest, its strength has limits. Biting something hard, falling on chin, receiving a blow on face can chip your teeth especially if it is having a previous decay. But it is not a reason to panic, dental treatments are in place to take care of chipped or broken tooth.
How to Care for a Chipped or Broken Tooth??
If your tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, your tooth could break further or become infected, seeking an early intervention can limit these instances.
There is no point in taking home based measures as these are bound to further damage already caused and sometimes only a minimal dental treatment is required. Till the time you can see a dentist you can try
• Painkiller like combi flam or brufen.
• If the break has caused a sharp or jagged edge cover it with a soaked cotton or a chewing gum.
• If you must eat, avoid biting down on the broken tooth.
Depending upon the severity of chipping following dental treatments are available which range from less expensive single visit treatment to lengthy and costly procedures.
Dental Filling or Bonding
If only a small piece of tooth is chipped it can be repaired by a process known as bonding. Bonding is also used to treat front tooth gaps. It is a simple single visit procedure in which dentist roughens the broken edge (a process called etching) after which an adhesive is applied to that surface. Once this is done a tooth coloured resin filling is applied and hardened with Blue phase light. After this the dentist shapes the solidified filling with burrs and give it a natural shape.
Dental Cap or Crown
Sometimes a large piece of tooth falls off, a condition which cannot be treated with bonding. In such scenario remaining tooth may not take pressure of chewing and break further, to prevent this dentist can grind the remaining tooth and fix a crown over it.
If the defect lies in smile zone you can opt for an all ceramic crown otherwise options like full metal and porcelain fused to metal crowns are also available. This procedure may take 2-3 sitting and is expensive than bonding or filling. But this procedure will prolong the life of the remaining tooth and avert the need for extraction. If the entire top of the tooth is broken off but the root is still intact, the dentist or an endodontist (a dentist who specializes in root canals) may perform root canal therapy and place a pin or a post in the canal, and then build up enough of a structure onto which a crown can be made. Later, the dentist can cement the crown over the pin or post-retained restoration.
In chipping occurs in front teeth and not severe enough to require a crown, a dental veneer can make it look whole and healthy again. A dental veneer is a thin shell made from tooth coloured resin or porcelain.
To prepare your tooth, your dentist will remove from about 0.3 to 1.2 millimeters of enamel from its surface. Next the dentist will make an impression of the tooth to be sent to a dental laboratory, which will make the veneer. When the veneer is ready, usually a week or two later, you'll need to go back to the dentist to have it placed.
Root Canal Therapy
If a tooth chip or break is large enough to expose the soft core of tooth than it definitely requires root canal treatment and possibly a crown after this. In this procedure the soft core of the tooth is removed and inside of tooth is cleaned with special medicines and it is than sealed with sealants.
Most root canal procedures are painless and carries excellent prognosis and long term success rate. Endodontists are specially trained to undertake this process and have extra armamentarium like microscope, apex locator and thermoplasticised sealants which further improves the success of root canal procedure.
Conclusion: No matter how severe is the chipping of the teeth it can be treated, without going for unnecessary extraction. Home based treatment will only worsen the damage. Choose your dentist wisely.