Despite the strength of dental enamel, situations do arise with fractured and broken teeth. This generally happens because of trauma like a blow to the face, biting down on something hard or possibly cavities which might have weakened the walls of the tooth.
If the piece that breaks of is large, the nerve is likely to be damaged. When exposed to saliva, air, hot or cold foods, the pain can be uncomfortable to excruciating. Some such situations are as follows:
- Minor cracks or craze lines are superficial fractures that affect only the enamel of the tooth and rarely require treatment. The area might be lightly polished to smoothen out any rough edges.
- Chips, if minor, do not always require treatment. The dentist might repair it to avoid risking further damage and for cosmetic effect.
- Cusp fractures affect the pointed edges or chewing surfaces of the teeth. The pulp is invariably unaffected and unlikely to result in pain. The damage might have to be repaired if it interferes with normal chewing. Normally this entails filling the surface to restore the shape.
- Split tooth is where a tooth is split vertically into two separate parts. This usually happens in the case of molars or the teeth at the back of the mouth. Molars have more than one root. In such a situation a root canal procedure is usually necessary. It might be possible to salvage one of the roots which will then have to be capped with a crown. The root or roots that cannot be saved will have to be removed which will call for a minor surgical procedure. Often the molar may be beyond repair and have to be extracted.
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