Monday May 5 2014

dental clinic: How a broken tooth can be restored

By Richard Kabanda

Many people do not know what to do when their teeth get broken or develop fractures. In fact, because teeth are supposed to be strong, many people do not anticipate that they can get broken easily.
However, scenarios that can cause your teeth to break include biting something that is too hard, being hit on the mouth, falling, developing cavities that weaken the teeth and having large old fillings that do not support the enamel of a particular tooth.
Usually, when a tooth breaks, it may not hurt but may create an uncomfortable feeling as your tongue moves around the sharp broken end of the particular teeth.
However, in cases where you actually feel pain from a broken tooth, it is likely that the nerve inside the tooth may be damaged. When nerve endings in the dentine are exposed to air, cold or hot foods and drinks, a person may experience on-and-off pain. This is common when chewing because of the pressure that is exerted during the process.

What dentists can do
Different forms of treatments can be provided depending on the condition of the tooth.

Minor cracks
These usually affect only the outer white surface of the tooth called the enamel. Minor cracks rarely need treatment. However, your dentist may lightly polish the area around the crack to make it smooth.

Cracked tooth
This type of fracture involves the whole tooth, from the chewing surface all the way down to the nerve. These cracks can be repaired through filling. However, if the nerve and other tissues are damaged, you may need a root canal treatment as well.

Broken cusp
Cusps are the pointed chewing surfaces of the teeth. They usually do not affect the pulp and are unlikely to cause much pain. Your dentist may repair the damage to restore the tooth’s shape.

Decay-induced breakage
In this case, the tooth has broken because a cavity has weakened it from the inside. Your dentist will evaluate the cavity and recommend the best way to restore the tooth. If the decay is extensive and goes down to the bone, the tooth may have to be removed.

The writer is a dentist