Although damage to teeth is usually caused by decay or general wear and tear, sometimes you could be unlucky enough to sustain damage through an accident or injury. Not only can this be extremely painful, but it can have long-lasting consequences for both dental health and appearance, and so it's important to get dental attention to minimise the effects. What can you dentist do for chipped or broken teeth?
Important: if the tooth is badly broken, or even knocked out completely, then this should be treated as a medical emergency. A duty dentist may be able to re-fix a knocked-out tooth if they can work quickly enough, but more importantly, a blow to the face with enough force to cause this much damage may have had other effects, and so a full examination is advisable to rule out any other problems.
If, however, the damage is less severe, then arrange an ordinary appointment with your regular dentist for as soon as possible. If you can find any pieces of broken tooth, then keep them in a clean container and a small amount of milk or saliva until you can take them to your appointment, as in some cases they could be used in the repair. In any case, depending on how bad the damage is, your dentist may recommend one of the following procedures.
For a minor chip, it may be enough for your dentist to gently smooth the surrounding area of the tooth to remove any sharp edges and reduce the visibility of the damage.
If the damage is in a suitable position, usually on a rear tooth, then a standard filling may be enough to repair the damage.
For more severe damage, including that to front teeth, then a crown may be a suitable solution. This involves work to sand down the remaining tooth, preparing it so that a piece of artificial tooth made from porcelain can be securely and permanently fixed to it. Although this is a fairly major procedure, the finished results should be undetectable and a perfect fit with the rest of the teeth.
Root Canal Surgery
If the damage has exposed nerves or badly split the gums, then root canal surgery may be necessary to save the remainder of the tooth before any cosmetic work can be carried out.
If the damage is so bad that the tooth cannot be saved, the remaining parts will be extracted entirely, and a complete artificial replacement fitted. Although this used to mean traditional dentures, a more modern technique is to drill a titanium socket into the jawbone, and then screw a replacement tooth into place. This procedure will involve at least two trips to the dentist, but the results are generally excellent.
As can be seen, the greater the damage to the tooth, the more extensive the work needed to achieve a satisfactory result. However, there is a relatively new technique which is an excellent solution for minor cracking, chipping, or other cosmetic problems: dental veneers.
What Are Dental Veneers?
If a tooth is only cosmetically damaged but in otherwise good health, then dental veneers are a good way of improving its appearance. Veneers are thin slivers of porcelain or a ceramic material, shaped to match the front part of your original tooth, and coloured to match the rest of your undamaged teeth. Veneers can be fitted to one or more teeth for minor damage, or to the entire set for a fully uniform and undetectable appearance. Fitting them takes two trips to the dentist - one to measure your teeth so that the veneers can be made to fit, and then another trip when they are securely glued into place. Once fitted, veneers will last for at least a decade, and will be indistinguishable from ordinary teeth. For fitted dental veneers in Cardiff visit www.birchgrovedental.co.uk.
No matter how bad the damage may seem at first, in most cases your dentist will be able to alleviate the worst of it, and leave your teeth looking as good as they did before the accident.