While cracked or fractured teeth can be painful and pose a threat to your smile, a broken tooth is even more harmful to your bite and long-term dental health. Unlike a crack or fracture, a break describes a piece of your tooth that has completely separated from the tooth’s main structure. The damage can change the shape of your tooth, and therefore the balance of your bite’s pressure, leading to increasingly worse damage and dental discomfort. In many cases, broken teeth can be repaired with an appropriate restorative treatment, though in severe cases, tooth extraction may be necessary so that your dentist can replace it with a more functional prosthesis.
How Teeth Break
One of the most common ways for a tooth to break is accidental trauma, making broken teeth a common dental emergency. Also, teeth that are cracked or fractured can eventually break under the pressures of constantly biting and chewing if they are not restored promptly. If you experience bruxism, a condition that involves consistently grinding your teeth, then your teeth will be more likely to suffer excessive wear and damage, including breaks along their structures.
Treating a broken tooth typically involves designing and placing a lifelike dental crown over it. The crown completely caps the tooth, protecting it from suffering further damage by absorbing the pressure from your bite. In most cases, treating the broken tooth promptly can help you avoid the need to extract and replace it. However, in cases where a tooth is severely broken, or when the root is damaged underneath the gums, extracting and replacing the broken tooth may be the most beneficial option for restoring and protecting your smile.