What Happens if You Leave a Broken Tooth

A broken tooth can happen in an instant and can be very painful! There are a number of things that can lead to a broken tooth: age, dental decay, old fillings, grinding your teeth, and eating hard foods can all contribute to tooth fracture.

No matter how large or small the chip or crack in a tooth is, it is very important to have it evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth and surrounding tissue. Sometimes, a chip or crack can lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, and sensitivity but even if you do not experience any symptoms, you should have the tooth restored to prevent further damage.

Broken Tooth: Symptoms

Not all broken teeth cause pain but in those that do, pain is most often the first symptom. You may experience sensitivity in the area and even swollen gum tissue or you may not have any symptoms at all but can feel a rough edge on your tooth. If you are having sensitivity and pain in a tooth, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication to ease your discomfort and use a cold compress to help soothe the area. It is important to get to your dentist as soon as possible for an evaluation and treatment to prevent further damage to the area.

Your dentist will be able to help identify a cracked tooth with a simple exam. During which, they will likely take an x-ray to see if there is an underlying bone issue and will have you bite down on a hard stick or instrument to see if any symptoms occur.

Bruxism can cause extensive wear on the teeth as well as pain in the jaw upon waking and can lead to a cracked tooth. Bruxism is the unconscious clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. Your dentist can make a night guard for you to sleep in which will greatly reduce symptoms of bruxism and protect your teeth from fracture as well as help to relax the jaw while you sleep.

Broken Tooth: Treatment
Your dentist will be able to determine how best to restore the area to give you the best chance of keeping your tooth. Treating a broken tooth can be as simple as smoothing a rough edge if it is a small chip and no symptoms are present! Fractures in a tooth will need to be repaired with either a composite filling or porcelain crown in order to save the tooth.

Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may need to have a root canal performed to remove damaged and infected pulp before the tooth is restored. Severe fractures can eventually lead to the tooth splitting in half at which point the only option would be extraction. In the event that your tooth is hopeless and does have to come out, your dentist will provide you with options to replace the tooth which may include a dental bridge or dental implant.

Leaving a broken tooth untreated can lead to more serious problems. Infection can spread down into the tooth and to the jaw, neck, and even the head, affecting the rest of your body. If you think you have a broken tooth, it is very important to have it evaluated and treated by your dentist.

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