Understanding Different Types of Dental Damage & the Repair Options

Dentist Articles

If you have cracked one of the teeth in your mouth, then it is imperative that you seek out professional dental assistance as soon as possible. If you do not, then you may need an eventual extraction. Extractions occur, because damaged teeth tend to deteriorate over time.

Dental enamel may be the strongest material in the entire body, but the mineralized substance will not regrow after it is damaged. This means that teeth will never repair themselves with calcium and other minerals they need, and open cracks and chips will wear on the edges. Tooth damage also leaves dentin exposed in many cases, and dentin will erode much more quickly than enamel due to its porous nature.

Some cracks and chips cannot be fixed with a simple filling though. Your dentist will take a close look at the damage and make arrangements based on the evaluation. Keep reading to find out about dental damage, the evaluations that need to be made, and the types of fixes your dentist can perform. 

Cusp Breaks

The type of dental damage seen across your chipped or cracked tooth will determine what type of fix will be completed. Cusp fractures or breaks are one of the most common types of dental injuries. Evaluations for breaks will involve looking at the size of the damage that needs to be repaired. If the crack has left an open area along the tooth that encompasses less than one-third of the cusp or the entire tooth, then a filling can be secured.

Generally, fillings are utilized to fill in spaces and to repair the shape of the broken tooth. Resin and aluminum composites simply do not have the strength to repair tooth structure. This is one reason why only one-third of the tooth should be repaired with a filling.

If the tooth break is larger than one-third of the tooth, then the dentist will look to see if the crack has damaged the dental pulp. If so, then a root canal will need to be performed. This treatment will further damage the tooth, since a portion of the enamel and dentin will need to be removed to access the pulp chamber. Dental pulp will then be removed, the tooth will be filled with a rubber compound, and your dentist will take molds so a crown can be secured.

Cracked Tooth

Dental damage in the form of a crack will be evaluated just like cusp breaks. In this case, the length of the crack will be noted. If the crack sits above the gum line, then your dentist will be able to save the tooth. Usually, a dental crown will be secured so the crack cannot spread. If the crack is shallow, then the dental enamel will be removed on either side of the crack during the preparation process and this will further reduce cracking concerns. If damage is deeper, then the crack may remain, but the crown and the adhesive underneath will stop the opening from moving down the tooth.

Unfortunately, if the crack is noted underneath the gum line, then it will likely require extraction or the tooth will completely break in half over time as the opening deepens. Thankfully, it takes a long time for a dental crack to lengthen to this point. This means an extraction will be unlikely if you seek treatment as soon as you notice the opening.

Root Fractures

Teeth do not only crack across the biting edge, but they can also break along the dental root as well. These root fractures are commonly seen when trauma occurs to the mouth in the way of a fall or blunt force. Root fractures cannot be seen, and they can go unnoticed for a period of time. After some time, bacteria will likely find their way into the opening and infect the tooth nerve and dental pulp.

This will cause some pain and your dentist will find the crack when looking at X-rays. Root canal treatment will be used to get rid of the infection and your dentist will be able to remove the broken root tip. This will prevent further damage to the tooth, and infections will no longer be able to occur since dental pulp will be removed and the internal tooth space will be filled.

Learn more about these issues and your repair options by contacting clinics like Maplewood Dental Associates, PA.


16 July 2015

All About Full and Partial Dentures

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