If not treated immediately, a cracked tooth can cause several problems, like pain, swelling, and infection. If you ever experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist right away to prevent further damage to your teeth or gums. That said, if you’re currently in pain and need immediate care for a cracked…
A Family Dentist Discusses Chipped Teeth and Tooth Decay
Family dentists have a lot of experience dealing with tooth decay and chipped teeth. Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent dental issues and it can lead to the loss of a tooth when left untreated. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth mixing with food particles and acids in the mouth. A chipped tooth can be the result of biting down on something hard or getting hit in the face. Teeth that have already been weakened with tooth decay are also more likely to become chipped.
A family dentist educates patients about tooth decay and chipped teeth
A healthy tooth can become chipped, but tooth decay weakens the structures of a tooth, making it more prone to becoming damaged.
1. Chipped teeth
A chipped tooth might be classified as a dental emergency if a significant portion of it has come off. An extensive chip might leave the pulp chamber exposed so the tooth requires immediate treatment. A minor chip only affects the outer layers of a tooth and it typically does not come with pain.
The severity of a chip or break determines how a family dentist decides to go about treating it. Popular treatment options include:
- Composite resin: This is usually the go-to solution for minor chips. Composite resins are putty-like mixtures of plastics and glass. They are applied directly to damaged teeth in layers, molded as desired and cured with ultraviolet light. The composite can be color-matched with the patient's real teeth so the repairs do not look out of place.
- Veneers: If the damage only affects the front part of the tooth, veneers can be used to hide the damage and restore the appearance of the patient's tooth. Veneers are typically used when the inner structures of the damaged tooth are intact.
- Crowns: Crowns are used to fix severely chipped teeth. The crown covers the tooth and protects it from acids and bacteria in the mouth. The crown restores the appearance of the damaged tooth and it shields it from bite forces generated when chewing. Crowns are long-lasting oral restorations that can last over 25 years.
2. Tooth decay
Tooth decay is caused by acids in the mouth eating away at teeth. It starts with the formation of small holes called cavities but it can transform into an infection or worse if left untreated. The early stages of tooth decay can be reversed with fluoride treatments. Once the damage to teeth becomes significant, the family dentist might go with treatments like such as:
- Fillings: This involves removing decayed material and filling up the holes created by tooth decay.
- Root canal therapy: A root canal involves cleaning out the pulp chamber and closing the tooth back up. A crown might be used to protect it afterward.
- Crowns: Severely decayed teeth can be saved with dental crowns. These restorations prevent it from getting further damaged.
Consult with a family dentist
Call or visit the Benicia clinic when experiencing a chipped or decayed tooth. Our family dentist can perform treatments to save the tooth.
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