Fractured Teeth: Causes, Treatments, and When to Consult a Periodontist

Published: 2023-06-02

Fractured teeth can be a painful and distressing dental issue that affects many individuals. Whether it’s due to a traumatic injury or weakened tooth structure, understanding the causes, treatments, and when to consult a periodontist can help you regain your oral health and prevent further complications. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of fractured teeth and explore the role of a periodontist in managing these conditions effectively.

What Causes Fractured Teeth?

Fractured teeth can occur for various reasons, ranging from accidental trauma to underlying dental problems. Here are some common causes:

a) Accidental Injury: A fall, sports-related incident, or any impact to the mouth area can lead to a fractured tooth. These fractures can range from minor chips to severe breaks.

b) Tooth Decay: Deep cavities weaken the tooth structure, making them more susceptible to fractures. When left untreated, decay can progress and compromise the integrity of the tooth.

c) Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Chronic teeth grinding, often occurring during sleep, puts excessive pressure on the teeth. Over time, this can lead to fractures or cracks.

d) Biting Hard Objects: Chewing on hard objects like ice, pens, or fingernails can cause fractures, especially if done regularly.

Types of Fractured Teeth

Fractured teeth can be classified into different types, each requiring specific treatment approaches. The types include:

a) Craze Lines: These are tiny cracks on the enamel that do not typically cause pain or require treatment. However, they may affect the tooth’s appearance and may be a precursor to more severe fractures.

b) Cracked Tooth: A cracked tooth involves a fracture that extends beyond the enamel and reaches the dentin or pulp. Cracked teeth can be painful and may require immediate attention.

c) Fractured Cusp: The cusps are the pointed chewing surfaces of the teeth. When a cusp breaks off, it may not cause much discomfort but can make the tooth more vulnerable to further damage.

d) Split Tooth: A split tooth occurs when a cracked tooth goes untreated, leading to the tooth splitting into distinct segments. Saving the tooth becomes more challenging in such cases.

e) Vertical Root Fracture: These fractures begin in the root of the tooth and progress upward. They are often difficult to diagnose and may require extraction.

Treating Fractured Teeth

The treatment for fractured teeth depends on the type, location, and severity of the fracture. Here are some common treatment options:

a) Dental Bonding: For minor fractures, dental bonding can restore the appearance and function of the tooth. The dentist applies a tooth-colored resin to the affected area, which is then hardened and polished.

b) Dental Crowns: Crowns are used for more extensive fractures or when the tooth structure is compromised. A crown covers the entire tooth, providing strength, protection, and aesthetics.

c) Root Canal Therapy: If the fracture extends into the pulp chamber, root canal therapy may be necessary. This involves removing the damaged pulp and replacing it with a filling material to save the tooth.

d) Tooth Extraction and Replacement: In cases where the fracture is severe or the tooth cannot be saved, extraction may be required. Various replacement options, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures, can restore the function and appearance of the missing tooth.

The Role of a Periodontist

Periodontists are dental specialists who focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal (gum) diseases and other supporting structures of the teeth. While fractured teeth primarily involve the tooth structure, they can also impact the gums and bone surrounding.

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