Broken tooth

WHAT IS A BROKEN TOOTH?

Broken teeth may be the result of large fillings, causing the tooth to become weak. Teeth may also fracture due to grinding and clenching. If a tooth is knocked out completely, it can be saved, though immediate action is required.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE TOOTH?

If the tooth has been knocked out, handle the tooth by the top (crown) only, do not let the tooth dry out, and replant the tooth  (adult tooth only) or otherwise place the tooth in the owner’s mouth next to the cheek to prevent drying out.

If a tooth is chipped or fractured, but without soft tissue trauma or pain, do not panic, keep the tooth fragment and seek dental advice within 24 hours. If the damage is substantial, seek dental advice; signs of ‘pink’ indicate the nerve of the tooth is exposed, seek treatment immediately to save the tooth.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE TREATMENT?

If you have replanted a knocked out tooth, the dentist will assess that it is in the correct position by taking an X-ray. The dentist will splint the teeth on either side to hold it in position for two weeks. If a tooth has been lost or cannot be replaced, options include a denture, bridge or implant. For a broken or chipped tooth, the dentist may be able to glue the fragment back, if it has not been lost. It is recommended that the fragment be stored in water.

Popular methods of repairing broken teeth include:

  • White fillings;
  • Inlays and onlays; and
  • Crowns

APPOINTMENTS

Treatment can usually be administered in one appointment, though factors to consider include the cause of damage, amount of damage, location of the tooth within the mouth and the general state of dental health.

COSTS

The average cost associated with restoration of a broken tooth is $300.  The cost can increase ($500-$1600) if stronger options such as a crown or inlay are appropriate.

ASK YOUR INEEDA DENTIST

Is there a better option that will last longer than a filling? Since breakage is often due to large fillings, another option may provide a longer-term alternative such as a porcelain inlay, onlay or crown.