Broken tooth or filling?

What causes a broken tooth or a broken filling?

Most tooth fractures are caused by trauma, but they can also happen simply by biting down on something hard. You are more likely to crack a tooth when you have cavities or tooth decay.

What should I do when I break a tooth or filling?

When you break or fracture a tooth, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, the tooth could become infected and you may end up losing the tooth. The dentist will determine if it was caused by a cavity and whether your tooth’s nerve is in danger.

Before you can see the dentist, you can care for it by:

  • Rinsing your mouth with warm (salt)water.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relief if the tooth is painful.
  • Applying a cold pack to the lips over the tooth that is broken, this helps avoid swelling and pain.
  • If the broken tooth has a sharp edge, try to cover it with sugarless chewing gum, wax, or temporary dental cement (available at some chemists).
  • Eat soft food and avoid pressure or biting on the broken tooth.

What treatments are available for a broken tooth or filling?

Different tooth breaks require different treatments, it depends on how severely the tooth is damaged.

  • Minor cracks that affect only the enamel (the outer white surface of the tooth) are called ‘craze lines’. When a craze line occurs, your dentist may polish the tooth to smooth it out.
  • A chip. If a piece of enamel chipped off your tooth, the dentist will usually repair it with a filling. When the piece is small, a polish may be all that is needed.
  • If a large piece breaks off or the tooth has a lot of decay, the dentist may have to file away part of your tooth and put on a crown or a cap.
  • If the crack is severe and the nerves and other tissues are damaged, you may require a root canal treatment. During this procedure, the exposed nerve will be removed and the tooth will be sealed.
  • If there is a serious break, in cases where the tooth is broken vertically, the roots are affected and/or when the tooth has serious decay, the whole tooth may have to be removed.

Can you prevent a broken tooth or a broken filling?

To prevent teeth from chipping or breaking, you should keep your teeth in good health (brushing, avoiding sugary foods, etc). Breaks can also be prevented by protecting yourself with a mouth guard while playing certain sports, by avoiding chewing on hard foods, and by getting a retainer or mouth guard if you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth.

Fissure Sealants / Filling FAQ’s

The grooves or fissures in your teeth can be so fine that the bristles of your toothbrush cannot reach the bottom of them.

The bottom of these grooves can accumulate small particles of food, this food then feeds the bacteria that live at the bottom of the grooves and cause cavities.

Fissure seals fill and seal the groove in our teeth so that food and bacteria cannot reach the bottom anymore

Fissure seals protect your teeth from dental decay.

In the long term, fissure seals will protect you from needing fillings, and the cost of those fillings.

By avoiding dental fillings the survival of your tooth is much greater than a tooth that has had previous cavities.

Composite fillings use strong, durable resin to fill cavities and repair cracks or fractures in teeth.

Unlike amalgam (silver) fillings, composite fillings offer a tighter fit than these older dental filling materials and are aesthetically-pleasing because they are the color of your natural teeth.

Much like dental bonding, this really comes down to a few factors:

  • the size of the cavity
  • your oral hygiene & maintenance
  • diet
  • regular dental appointments
  • flossing

If you follow all of the above then you will extend your life but the average is around 10 years.

Dental fillings can take as long as an hour. But this depends on the size of the filling, the number of fillings required & the location. But 1 hour is the maximum time required to get a filling.

There is not really a limit to how many fillings can be done at 1 time.

The biggest limit to how many cavities a patient can get done in one sitting depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • How long can you be at the dentist’s?
  • Do you have any time constraints?
  • Can you hold your mouth open for an extended period of time?
  • It also depends on how much anesthetic our dentists can administer safely.

But whether you need one filling, three fillings, or ten, our dental team can assist you.

Unlike amalgam fillings, composite dental fillings allow patients to eat right after getting the procedure.

However, it is recommended that patients only resume eating after the local anesthetic wears off. It can be quite difficult to eat when your lips and mouth are numb!

We also recommend no hard candy or other very hard foods straight away.