You may suffer injuries and teeth fractures when participating in sports. You may fall or get hit by an object like a ball or a bat leading to broken teeth. It is important to seek proper and prompt management for fractured and broken teeth. Seeking immediate care will help to preserve the fractured teeth because the dentist will do all he or she can to preserve the tooth.  There are two main types of dental injuries; injuries may either be direct or indirect. Direct injuries and dental fractures occur when the mouth is struck directly with a bat, a forearm, or any other object.  Indirect dental injuries and teeth fractures occur when you abruptly close the mouth. Closing the mouth abruptly may make the lower teeth to crash into the upper teeth.  For all forms of treatment for Fractured and Broken Teeth, Encino Emergency Dentist can assist you.

How to Handle Dental Fractures and Broken Teeth

For you to understand the best way to handle fractured and broken teeth, it is important to understand the dental anatomy.  A tooth comprises the outermost layer known as enamel. Enamel comprises of mineral salts, and it is the hardest substance in the body.  A tooth has two main components; the crown and the tooth's root. A dental crown extends above the gum line and comes in handy in chewing food. The tooth's root of a tooth joins to the bone and helps to hold the tooth in place. The tooth's root also allows the nerves and the blood to pass.  Direct and indirect injuries are the main causes of broken and fractured teeth.  Direct injuries mainly occur during sporting events and other physical activities. In the case of indirect injuries, teeth that have had dental cavities or teeth that have undergone previous root canal treatment suffer the most.  Different types of injuries and fractures may result from direct or indirect injuries. Seeking immediate dental attention after an injury is crucial to saving your tooth. Some of the common forms of injuries include:

Avulsed Tooth

An avulsed tooth occurs when an injury completely knocks of the tooth from its socket. If this happens and the tooth falls up, you should pick it up immediately. It is advisable to avoid picking the tooth by its roots but instead pick it by the crown.  You should place the tooth in milk, saliva, or a saline solution.  If you do not have access to these solutions, you can place the tooth under your tongue. However, if the victim is a child, it is not advisable to place the tooth under the tongue because the child may end up swallowing the tooth. You should seek immediate dental treatment because if a broken or knocked tooth remains outside the mouth for more than two hours, the chances of saving the tooth will be slim. If you have an avulsed tooth, you should seek dental attention as soon as possible. 

You should never use soap or other cleaning agents to clean a knocked-out tooth. You should also refrain from scrubbing, scraping, or brushing the knocked-out tooth. You may rinse the tooth in milk and then place the tooth back into its socket. The less time the tooth spends out of the socket, the higher the chance of saving the tooth. After placing the tooth back to its socket, you may hold the tooth in place by biting down.  To minimize the bleeding, you may gently bite on a clean piece of cloth or gauze. You may also bite on a wad of cloth or a wet tea bag until you reach the dentist's office.

If you do not manage to replace the tooth to the socket, you can preserve the tooth.  If you manage to get to the dentist soon after the knockout, the dentist can successfully re-implant the tooth in your mouth.  The dentist may only re-implant adult teeth.  A dentist may avoid re-implanting the primary teeth of a baby to prevent injuries on the growing secondary teeth within the jawbone of the baby.

Luxated Tooth

A Luxated tooth refers to a tooth that is loose but which has not fallen off completely. You can be able to move the tooth backward, forward, and sideways. Immediately after suffering the injury, you may push the tooth back into its socket. You should then visit the nearest dental facility to seek emergency dental care.

A dislodged permanent tooth may require a root canal treatment. The tooth's root canal treatment may commence one week after the injury. If a child below the age of 12 years suffers a Luxated tooth, the child may not require undergoing a root canal treatment. In children, a dentist may stimulate the cells present in the pulp tissue to complete root growth and heal the pulp after injuries. If your child suffers a dental fracture, you should consult your dentist to see if this is the case.

Fractured Teeth

There are several classifications of fractured teeth, depending on the number of layers involved. The treatment for fractured teeth is almost the same as the treatment for avulsed teeth.

How Can You Tell You Have a Fractured Tooth?

If you suffer a fractured tooth due to an injury or due to general wear and tear, you may experience a wide range of symptoms. The symptoms will help you to know that you have a fractured tooth and will prompt you to seek medical attention. You are likely to experience sudden erratic pain while chewing food. You may also experience severe pain if you expose your teeth to hot or cold temperatures. The pain associated with a fractured tooth does not have to be persistent. At times, the pain may subside and then come again. In some instances, your dental expert might even have difficulties locating the fractured tooth.

The sooner you seek treatment for a fractured tooth, the better.  You are likely to get a positive outcome, and the dentist will be able to save your tooth if you seek immediate medical attention. A fractured tooth often brings discomfort. Beneath the enamel of the tooth and the dentine, there is an internal soft and tender tissue known as the pulp. Your pulp consists of blood vessels and the nerves. If your tooth suffers a fracture, some food particles may proceed to the pulp as you chew food leading to discomfort.  If you do not address a fractured tooth, the pulp may suffer extensive damage to the extent that the pulp cannot heal on its own.

A fractured tooth may not just hurt when you are chewing food but also develop sensitivity to extreme temperatures. As time goes by, a fractured tooth starts to pain on its own without any irritation. Extensive fracturing may lead to the development of infection in your pulp tissue. Later on, the infection may extend to the bone or the surrounding gum leading to infection.

Treatment of Fractured Teeth

Broken teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. The treatment for fractured teeth comprises reattaching the broken piece of the tooth enamel. Composite bonding is also a popular treatment method that entails bonding a tooth-colored crown or filling in place. The treatment that the dentist will adopt will depend on the type of fracture or breakage of the tooth. The treatment mode and the outcome of the treatment will also depend on the location and the seriousness of the fracture:

One of the leading forms of dental fractures is the craze lines. Craze lines comprise of tiny scars that affect the outer part of the enamel. Craze lines are very common in teeth for grownups. The lines are mild and shallow and typically are not a cause for concern beyond the aesthetics.

Fractured cusps are also common forms of dental fractures. You have a fractured tooth cusp if a part of your tooth's chewing surface wears off. The breakage mainly occurs around a tooth filling. In most cases, a fractured tooth cusp does not lead to a lot of pain and does not damage the pulp of your tooth.  To help protect the fractured cusp, your dental expert can place/install a new filling or dental crown upon the worn-out teeth to help prevent the teeth from further fracturing.  If you have a fractured tooth cusp and you are experiencing pain while breathing through the mouth or when drinking cold or hot items, you may consider some remedies before you get to the dentist. For instance, you may bite on a moist cloth to help reduce the symptoms.  You may also use pain medication but avoid using aspirin or other medication that may accelerate bleeding.

At times a crack or a fracture on the tooth may extend from the tooth's chewing surface vertically towards the tooth's root. The tooth's root may still be intact and not disintegrated into pieces even as the cracks extend to the tooth's root. To help save the tooth, early diagnosis is important. If the crack extends to the pulp of the tooth, your dentist can correct the fracture through a root canal treatment. Upon completing the tooth's root canal treatment, the dentist places a dental crown on the tooth to help prevent the tooth's crack from extending.

At times, a dental fracture or crack may not be treatable. For instance, you may no longer be able to treat the crack if the crack on the tooth extends below your gum line. In this case, it may be hard to save the tooth, and you may have to extract it. It is for this reason that you should seek treatment for dental fractures early enough. If you leave a small fracture unattended, the fracture gradually gets worse.

A split tooth is also a common form of dental fracture. A split tooth is a direct result of the prolonged advancement of your cracked/fractured tooth. A split tooth comprises of several cracks with independent portions that can easily stand or separate. It may be difficult to save an entire split tooth. Depending on the location and the advancement of the tooth's crack, your dentist may be able to save a segment of the tooth. In some instances, you may have to undergo endodontic treatment to be able to save a segment of the tooth.

Vertical root fractures are also common forms of dental fractures. The vertical root fractures comprise of cracks, which originate from the tooth's root and then spread toward your tooth's chewing surface.  Usually, a tooth with vertical root fractures will show minimal or no signs of damage. Therefore, it may be hard to notice the fractures until they fully progress.  You may only notice the presence of vertical root fractures when the nearby bone or gum suffers an infection. Treatment for vertical root fracture may include tooth extraction. If the dentist can be able to save a portion of the fractured tooth, the dentist may perform endodontic surgery to help restore the tooth.

Diagnosing a Dental Fracture

A dentist may use various forms of imaging to detect a fractured tooth. In some instances, a dental x-ray may not be adequate to reveal a dental fracture. Different people with dental fractures may exhibit different symptoms, making it hard for dentists to come up with a universal way of detecting fractures. A dentist may follow several steps to help detect a dental fracture.

A dentist may seek to know your dental history, including whether you chew on hard foods or if you have a history of grinding your teeth. The dentist may then proceed to make a visual examination. To be able to see the tiny fractures and cracks, the dentist may have to use a magnifying lens.

Your dentist may physically feel the fractures on your tooth using a dental explorer. By running a dental explorer on the tooth, the dentist can feel whether the edges of the explorer will get caught on the fractures.  Where fractures are so small, the dentist may use a dental dye to make the cracks stand. Other diagnoses for dental fractures include probing the gums to check for inflammation. The technique of probing the gums is particularly common in the case of identifying vertical cracks, which often irritate the gum.

A dental x-ray may not enable the dentist to identify a crack in your tooth. However, an x-ray may help the dentist identify poor pulp health. Poor pulp health is often an indication of dental fractures. The dentist may have you bite on something during the dental examination. If you have a fractured tooth, you may experience pain and discomfort as you release the bite.

Treatment Options

Depending on the type and the location of the dental fracture, your dentist may recommend several treatment options. Some of the common forms of treatments for dental fractures include:

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a prosthetic device that is usually made from ceramic or porcelain. Your dentist may fit the dental crown over the damaged tooth and cap it. To ensure that the crown fits on your tooth perfectly, the dentist may first scrape off part of the enamel from the tooth. The dentist makes the crowns in the impression of your natural teeth and also makes the crown to match the natural color of your teeth. The dentist then sends the impression to a dental lab to make the dental crown.

The process of fitting dental crowns may take a couple of weeks. Once the dental lab finishes making the dental crown, your dentist receives the crown and schedules an appointment to fit them. During a dental visit, the dentist cements the crown on the cracked tooth. With the advancement of technology, some dentists do not need to send dental crowns to a laboratory. Instead, they mold dental crowns in their dental offices.  With proper care, a dental crown could serve you for a long time.

Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment is ideal if the damage on your tooth has extended up to the pulp of the tooth. Your dentist or a specialist, like an oral surgeon or an endodontist, may perform the tooth's root canal procedure.  During the tooth's root canal treatment, the dentist removes the damaged part of the pulp and restores your tooth.  A root canal treatment will prevent the tooth from suffering further damage and becoming weaker.

Tooth Extraction

At times, the dentist may not be able to treat the tooth through a root canal or by using bonding and dental crowns. This is the case if the damage to the tooth has extended to the tooth's roots and the nerves that lie below the tooth. The dentist may only have the option of removing your tooth.

No Treatment

At times, fractured and broken teeth may not require any form of treatment at all.  Many people usually have tiny cracks and fracture the size of hair strands on their teeth. The small cracks may not affect your appearance and may also not produce any pain. Instead of tampering with the tiny fracture, the dentist may, at times, advise you to leave them alone.

Other forms of treatment for fractured teeth include dental veneers. A dental veneer is a thin covering that a dentist places over the tooth. Dental veneers may come in handy if you have a small chip on the surface of the tooth.  The dentist may also treat dental fracture by removing part of the fractured tooth and leaving the rest of the tooth intact.  Removal of part of the fractured tooth may be ideal when dealing with a vertical root fracture.

Permanent Healing after Treatment

After undergoing treatment for a fractured tooth, you may wonder whether the tooth will heal completely.  At times the treatment may offer full healing and prevent the fractures from progressing. In some instances, the cracks may continue even after the treatment leading to separation and loss of the tooth. To prevent fractures from advancing, the dentist may place dental crowns on the tooth. The dental crowns provide maximum protection to the teeth but may not guarantee success in all cases.

The treatment you receive for your cracked tooth will help to relieve pain and reduce the likelihood of the crack advancing. If you seek treatment on time, fractured teeth will continue to operate and provide you with a comfortable chewing experience.

Prevention of Dental Fractures

What can you do to prevent your teeth from developing fractures from breaking? It may not be possible to eliminate the likelihood of developing dental structures. However, it may be possible to take some precautions. For instance, you should avoid chewing on hard objects like kernels or ice to prevent teeth from breaking. You should also avoid grinding or clenching your teeth.

Some people have the habit of clenching and grinding their teeth, and they are often at a high risk of developing fractures. If you have the habit of grinding and clenching your teeth, you may talk to your dentist to provide you with a mouth guard or a retainer to protect your teeth. You may also prevent dental fractures by ensuring that you wear a mouth guard or a protective mask whenever you are participating in sports.

You should avoid using your teeth to cut things and to open plastic bags. You should also beware of temperature extremes between foods and drinks.

Treatment Costs for Dental Fractures and Broken Teeth

The treatment for dental fractures and broken teeth will vary depending on the prevalence of tooth trauma. The cost will also depend on the length and complexity of the treatment.  In most cases, dental insurance does not cover treatment for dental fractures and broken teeth. Some insurance companies consider treatment for cracks and fractures to be a cosmetic dental procedure, and most insurance companies do not cover it. 

Contact an Encino Emergency Dentist Near Me

Often, fractured and broken teeth are dental emergencies because they are usually accompanied by intense pain and, in some cases, intense bleeding.  It is important to seek medical attention upon suffering a fractured or broken tooth. Seeking timely dental care will help prevent the fracture from extending and help save your tooth. Encino Emergency Dentist can help treat fractured and broken teeth. Contact us at 818-850-2969 and speak to one of our experienced emergency dentists today.