Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial to your general well-being and appearance. Unfortunately, dental issues like fractured or broken teeth can jeopardize your oral wellness. Even though dental enamel is the most mineralized tissue in our bodies, there is a limitation to how much force it can withstand before it fractures or breaks. Teeth can fracture or break from excessive force or mouth trauma. When a tooth cracks, whether from an accident or everyday use, it can cause significant pain as well as sensitivity.

If you break or fracture a tooth, it's an emergency and you need to see a dentist immediately. At the South Coast Dentistry, we use cutting-edge equipment to assess the severity of broken teeth or fractures and prescribe the best course of action for treatment. We offer our services to patients in Aliso Viejo, CA, who need emergency dental care.

Overview of Broken and Fractured Teeth

A broken tooth can be a simple nuisance or a serious health risk depending on the root of the problem, the extent of the damage, and where the tooth is located. Broken teeth are typically dental emergencies. This kind of tooth injury, if left untreated, could lead to serious problems like:

  • Extreme pain when chewing or biting.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Bad breath.
  • Sensitivity to changes in temperature.

If a tooth is severely cracked or broken, you should:

Gather the Broken Fragments

If your tooth has been severely damaged, you may need to gather and carefully store any pieces of fractured enamel. When dealing with a tooth that has been knocked out of its socket, you should avoid touching anything but the crown.

Restore the Tooth After Rinsing It

Rinse out the broken section of the tooth using warm water and put it back where it was before. If the broken piece can't be put back together, place it in milk so it won't dry out.

Take Care of the Immediate Symptoms

If you break or fracture a tooth and experience heavy bleeding, you should apply pressure to the area until the bleeding subsides before going to the dentist for treatment. This can be accomplished by applying pressure using a sterile gauze to that region and taking painkillers.

Find an Emergency Dentist as Soon as Possible

If you have broken or fractured teeth, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Seeking immediate medical attention is essential to avoid additional injuries and effects.

Different Kinds of Tooth Fractures

A tooth can break or fracture in many different ways, and the kind of treatment you receive depends on the specific type of breakage you have. The different types of fractures include:

Craze Lines

Enamel fractures are known as craze lines. These tiny fractures don't reach the dentin level of the teeth; they only happen in the enamel. Craze lines can appear anywhere on the teeth. However, they are most common in the teeth at the front and along the vertices.

It can be difficult to see craze lines using one's own eyes, and trans-illumination could be necessary for proper observation. Craze lines form when the tooth sustains repeated recurrent forces or blunt trauma, as in the case of teeth clenching or grinding.

When craze lines first appear, treatment is done purely for aesthetic purposes because you might not have any other issues. However, leaving these craze lines untreated could cause more harm to your teeth.

Cusp Fractures

When a tooth's crown cracks down to the gum line, it is called a cusp fracture. Lower molar lingual cusps tend to break more often than other cusps in the mouth.

The force required to chew or bite through tough foods greatly exacerbates the fracture. Old tooth restorations can also leave your cusps damaged and weak, making you more susceptible to damage.

A complete tooth fracture occurs when a traumatic incident causes the cusp to break off and detach. The remaining portion of a tooth that has had its cusp cracked could become temperature.

Tooth canals and other restorative procedures could be able to save your tooth if it has been severely fractured. However, if the crack in your tooth is severe, your dentist may advise you to have it extracted.

Split Tooth

Split teeth are entire fractures that start at the crown. These kinds of tooth fractures usually penetrate the tooth's outer ridges and completely separate the tooth's segments.

Chewing hard candies, ice, or grinding your teeth are all practices that can cause a tooth to split. If your tooth has broken at the root, your dentist is likely to recommend having it extracted and replaced.

Cracked Tooth

Having a cracked tooth means that the tooth has suffered a partial fracture. This kind of fracture frequently starts from the surface of the tooth and progresses to the dental nerves. The cracks steadily enlarge while the fractured bits stay put. Determining the precise position and magnitude of a tooth crack can be difficult. This means that your dentist could obtain x-rays of your teeth before deciding on treatment.

If you have a tooth that has cracked chewing and biting could cause you a great deal of pain. People who have had dental work done in the past may have weaker teeth, making them more vulnerable to this kind of damage.

In some cases, filling materials could be used to fix tooth cracks. However, depending on the severity of the situation, you might require a more in-depth restoration. Since there's no standard treatment for a broken tooth, a dental professional will go over your options based on your desired result, budget, and aesthetic considerations.

Vertical Root Fractures

There are two types of vertical root fractures: complete and incomplete. This type of crack can happen anywhere along the root's length, from its shortest point to the longest. A vertical root fracture is difficult to diagnose because they don't cause obvious symptoms. Vertical root fractures are typically detected through regular dental X-rays.

The vast majority of these fractures happen in people who have had root canal treatment done on their teeth. Therefore, it could be possible to lessen the likelihood of this sort of tooth fracture by reducing the amount of dentin removed during root canals.

Broken Tooth Due to Decay

When you have dental decay, your tooth cavity becomes weaker from within. As a result, the tooth crumbles and breaks. Cavities can cause teeth to crack, sometimes through to the underlying bone. The dentist will assess the size of the cavities and choose the best restoration strategy before treating your fracture.

Causes of Broken Teeth and Fractures

A broken or fractured tooth could be caused by several factors, such as:

Facial Trauma

Fractured and broken teeth frequently result from facial trauma. The hardest substance in your body is the enamel on your teeth. But if you apply too much pressure on them, they could break or fracture severely.

Sports-related accidents, physical assaults, and falls are among the most typical types of trauma that can fracture the teeth. When teeth are broken as a result of face trauma, it is typically those on the front that are affected and they are harder to repair than the back molars.

Biting Into Hard Foods

The teeth are built to withstand the stresses of chewing tough foods thanks to a combination of calcium and other minerals. However, this does not mean that chewing tough food items is a good habit.

When you bite on hard things such as ice cubes or hard candies, the tooth enamel is worn down and becomes more brittle. This raises the risk of fractures. Crunchy foods, such as carrots, should be sliced into smaller chewable sizes.

You should also be careful when eating with your front teeth because they are thinner. Avoid eating anything that's excessively hard or chewy, as this might cause your teeth to crack.

Tooth Cavities

Cavities are a common dental problem. Even while most cavities can be fixed, they could pose a risk of severe tooth damage if left untreated. Cavities can cause the tooth's enamel to deteriorate.

Although a fracture does not necessarily indicate the presence of cavities, an advanced cavity can lead to infections in the oral cavity. These tissues become infected, which results in nutrient deficiencies and a thinning of the enamel.

Clenching and Grinding

Some people get relief from stress by grinding their teeth, but the habit could have major adverse consequences on the oral cavity. When you clench or grind the teeth for long periods, you place undue stress on the enamel, making them more likely to crack or chip.

Furthermore, prolonged jaw clenching could lead to temporomandibular joint syndrome disorder and related facial issues.

Lack of Proper Oral Hygiene

Fractures and broken teeth are primarily brought on by poor oral hygiene. We should take care of the teeth and maintain appropriate dental hygiene practices to prevent bacteria from growing and other tooth illnesses from occurring.

If healthy hygiene habits, such as brushing twice every day, are neglected, bacteria will multiply. These bacteria create acids and toxins that damage the structure of teeth and make them more prone to breaking.

Additionally, using improper flossing and brushing techniques could cause damage by introducing bacteria to your teeth's inner layers.

Certain Dental Procedures

Dental procedures for both medical and cosmetic purposes have become more accessible thanks to technological developments. While the majority of dental operations enhance the look and performance of the teeth, a number of them may weaken teeth. Root canal therapy and similar procedures aim to save natural teeth by removing a portion of the teeth.

Exposure to Hot and Acidic Foods

Teeth are protected by enamel, but even that protective layer can be worn down by extreme temperatures or acids. If you drink cold water right after eating one of these items, the sudden change in temperatures or pH can cause your enamel to crack or break.

Common Signs of a Broken or Fractured Tooth

Even if the enamel on your teeth is the hardest tissue in your body, it can still crack or break. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be challenging to spot a cracked or broken tooth. Dental X-rays could be used to find a fracture that cannot be seen by the naked eye. You should keep an eye out for some of the common indicators of fractures, which include the following:

Pain During Chewing or Biting

You might not feel pain every time you eat if you have a cracked tooth, but if you do feel pain whenever you chew or bite, you might have a cracked tooth. Chewing hard candies and other foods can cause tooth fractures and the resulting pain.

Absence of Constant Discomfort

Pain from a broken or cracked tooth might come and go at random, unlike that caused by a cavity or dental abscess. If you suffer from occasional tooth discomfort, you most likely have a fractured tooth.

Infection and Gum Swelling

Bacteria can infiltrate the tooth and cause infections of the teeth and gums if the enamel of the tooth has been damaged. An infection surrounding a broken tooth could manifest as a tiny lump close to your gums.

Heightened Sensitivity

A fractured tooth can result in sensitivity and pain when eating foods that are too hot or cold.

No Obvious Signs

When a tooth is cracked or broken, you might not feel any pain, unlike when a cavity first forms and you can see the signs.

Diagnosing a Fractured or Broken Tooth

A broken tooth is not always noticeable on an X-ray, and not everybody experiences the regular symptoms. If your dentist suspects that you have a fractured tooth, they will likely:

  • Inquire about your oral history, including whether you clench your teeth or if you have a habit of chewing on an excessive amount of hard food items.
  • Look for cracks. Your dentist could use a dental explorer to go all over the tooth to decide whether or not it "catches" onto an edge.
  • Visually examine the situation. To see small cracks, your dentist might need to utilize a magnifier.
  • Examine your gums for any swelling. This method is particularly useful for locating vertical fissures that might irritate gums.
  • Take a dental X-ray. Even though this won't always show the fracture, it can highlight the health of the pulp, which could indicate if a fracture is present.
  • Make the crack more noticeable by using a dental dye.
  • They will ask you to bite on something. If you've got a fractured tooth, it could hurt once you stop biting down on the item.

Treatment For Fractured and Broken Teeth

A cracked or broken tooth can be quite annoying. Diagnosing the teeth fractures is difficult but not impossible. It will take X-rays or visual inspections with a magnifying glass to locate and determine the severity of tooth fractures. The dentist will examine the damage and make a treatment recommendation based on the severity of the breaks or fractures. Some treatments for broken or fractured teeth include:

  • Dental filling or bonding.
  • Dental veneers.
  • Root canal.
  • Dental crown.
  • Tooth Extraction.

Tips to Prevent Broken and Fractured Teeth

A dentist can assist you in restoring a cracked or damaged tooth using a variety of treatments. However, avoiding such injuries is preferable to undergoing invasive and unpleasant treatment procedures. The following are a few tips to help you prevent broken or fractured teeth:

Using a Mouthguard

One of the top causes of tooth breakage and fractures is trauma that occurs as a result of intensive sporting activities. The best strategy to shield your teeth from damage brought on by trauma would be to use a mouthguard. When properly placed, a mouth guard won't interfere with your capacity to breathe or speak.

Use a Night Guard

One practice that causes excessive force and pressure on the enamel of your teeth is teeth grinding. Teeth grinding usually happens at night once someone has fallen asleep. Therefore, if you clench or grind the teeth, using a nightguard may assist in avoiding tooth damage.

Avoid Biting and Chewing on Hard Foods

Chewing hard sweets and ice puts pressure on your tooth enamel, which results in fractures and breakages in the teeth. Many persons who suffer from tooth cracks have a propensity to chew ice. People chew on ice when it's hot outside or to suppress their appetite without ingesting calories. Avoiding these actions will help protect your teeth from breaking or forming fractures.

Find an Experienced Aliso Viejo Emergency Dentist Near Me

A broken or cracked tooth could affect the overall condition of your mouth and teeth, which in turn affects your general health. Broken and fractured teeth are dental emergencies and can lead to many issues if not treated promptly. An emergency dentist can help alleviate any pain symptoms you may be experiencing, determine how badly your tooth has been damaged, and suggest a course of action to get your smile and teeth function back.

At South Coast Dentistry, we are committed to helping you maintain your natural teeth and a healthy smile by repairing any fractured or broken teeth. Call our Aliso Viejo emergency dentists today at 949-274-9086 to schedule your appointment.