I Cracked My Tooth. What Should I Do?

Teeth fractures vary according to many factors including the magnitude and direction of the impact, hardness and shape of teeth, etc.

All of the layers of the tooth structure may be impacted by the fracture, and may require restoration treatment. Enamel is the visible white part of teeth, and it is the hardest tissue in the human body. Underneath the enamel, there is the dentin: a softer yellow layer that connects to the core of the tooth. The core is known as the pulp chamber and is the space that holds the blood vessels and nerve endings.

Crown Fractures

Crown fractures are the most common type of dental fracture, and can range from chipped enamel to chipped enamel and dentin, and exposed pulp. The treatments can range from a small restoration like a composite filling with a special dental material, to performing a root canal and placing a dental crown.

Root Fractures

Sometimes it may not be obvious that the root is broken, therefore an x-ray is needed to see the full extent of the fracture. Depending on the level of damage, it may be possible to save the tooth. Vertical fractures almost always require replacement with an implant or a bridge.

Knocked-Out Tooth

During a severe trauma, a tooth can be violently expelled from the socket. The tooth can actually be replanted and saved if the certain precautions are taken:

1. Find a dentist as soon as possible: Time is very important because teeth replanted within 30 minutes have reportedly shown the most success having little to no side effects. Only the dentist should replant the tooth because the socket needs to be carefully inspected, cleaned and the tooth splinted for stability.

2. Store the tooth in milk or saliva: This is because the level of acidity of these compounds, can help preserve the vitality of the cells.

Long-term results can vary with each case. Reconstruction of the broken parts is only part of the treatment, and observation is required to assess the level of damage of the tissues surrounding the tooth. The trauma experienced could cause socket fractures, nerve damage, and ankylosis which is the fusion of the root to the bone making further extraction impossible.

If you need treatment for dental fractures in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Find a Dentist!” form and a participating dental specialist will contact you to discuss your case.