“Doc, I broke my tooth.”

During the course of a normal week as a dentist, we inevitably get the distress call about a broken tooth. In my career thus far, especially in my residency, I have heard some very interesting stories about how a patient’s tooth has been broken; Some of which include:

  • being hit by a baseball bat,
  • tripping on the stairs,
  • biting a fork,
  • and the always humorous, “it just broke”!

The severity of the damage determines whether or not we, as dentists, can save the tooth. But don’t worry, we at Vacca Family Dentistry are here to help!

Broken Front Teeth

Broken front teeth can span from a small chip to a through-and-through fracture. A simple chip on the edge can be fixed with a tooth-colored filling and nothing more than that, pretty straight-forward (Figure 1). Larger fractures of front teeth is where it can get tricky. A lot of times, when a tooth is severely broken, it involves the nerve of the tooth, or the dental pulp. If the nerve is involved, the tooth can be saved with a root canal and build-up.

Where things become even more challenging for a dentist in matters related to the front teeth, is shade and shape matching. It is almost impossible to 100% match the remaining front teeth color/shape-wise with a simple filling and frankly, it takes a lot of artistic skill to do so effectively. If you really want to get a great esthetic result, a full coverage crown made by a lab is the better option.

Lastly, if the tooth is significantly damaged or breaks at an unfortunate angle along the root, the tooth may be deemed “non-restorable”.  In that case, the tooth would need to be extracted and a bridge or dental implant (Figure 3) would be indicated to fill the missing space. While this option may sound more difficult, the good news is that it truly serves as one of the best options because it is a permanent, durable and long-lasting option.

The bottom line is this: Just because you break your tooth does not mean your only option is to remove it.  Oftentimes, we can re-build it and if we can’t, we can replace it and no one will be the wiser –  about your “new” tooth, or unfortunate incident. 

If we can help you with a fractured, broken or damaged tooth, don’t hesitate to call our office. Any of our team members is always here to help you with the right solution to suit your needs and situation.  We always enjoy taking care of you!

– William Vacca, DDS