Damaged teeth are teeth that are cracked, (fractured), or broken due to trauma, decay or other factors. Clenching or grinding teeth can lead to pain or infection if left untreated or can affect the appearance of your teeth. Small chips or cracks can be smoothed off.
Damaged teeth can be uncomfortable, and at risk of fracture, breakage, pain and loss. Damaged teeth range from having decay, where bacteria is destroying healthy tooth structure, to infection in the tooth, bone or gums, or from wear due to grinding or clenching, and teeth fracturing due to cracks or trauma.
If your teeth are damaged, it is wise to see your Dentist ASAP before the problem gets worse.
Options for treatment:
If a front tooth is broken or chipped, a dental white filling or veneer can make it look whole and healthy again. A dental veneer is a thin shell of tooth-coloured porcelain or resin composite material that covers the whole front of the tooth with a thicker section to replace the broken part of the tooth.
Your dentist will firstly prepare the surface of the tooth. Next the dentist will make an impression of the tooth to be sent to a dental laboratory, which will make the veneer. Your veneer can they can then be structured to change the size, alignment, appearance, shape, and proportion of the teeth.
If a large piece of tooth breaks off or the tooth has a lot of decay, the dentist may grind or file away part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown, or tooth-shaped cap, made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. If the entire top of the tooth is broken off but the root is still intact, the dentist may perform root canal therapy and place a pin or a post in the canal, and then build up enough of a structure onto which a crown can be made. Later, the dentist can cement the crown over the pin or post-retained restoration.
Getting a crown usually takes two visits to the dentist’s office. During the first visit, your dentist may take X-rays to check the roots of the tooth and surrounding bone. If no further problems are detected, the dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding gum and then remove enough of the remaining tooth to make room for a crown. Next, your dentist will use a putty-like material to make an impression of the tooth so the crown can be made. In the meantime, your dentist may place a temporary crown made of acrylic or thin metal.
During the second visit, typically two to three weeks later, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit of the permanent one before permanently cementing it in place.
Root Canal Therapy
If a tooth chip or break is large enough to expose the pulp – the centre of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels – bacteria from the mouth can enter and infect the pulp. If your tooth hurts, changes colour, or is sensitive to heat, the pulp is probably damaged or diseased. Pulp tissue can die and if it’s not removed, the tooth can become infected and need to be extracted. Root canal therapy involves removing the dead pulp, cleaning the root canal, and then sealing it. In most cases, the remaining tooth must be covered with a crown to protect the now-weakened tooth.
Does it hurt?
There can be some discomfort with different procedures, depending on what is required. Whilst we can’t promise a completely pain free experience, we do our best to talk you through every step along the way and make sure you are comfortable through all treatment. We will ensure that you are completely numb, and stop at any time you need to.
For our patients who are scared or who find it difficult to sit through lengthy treatments, we can offer oral sedation so that they are relaxed on arrival and during treatment.
How much does it cost?
The cost of your treatment will depend on the solution that you and your dentist agree is the best option for you. Once we understand the preferred solution then we can discuss the cost and payment options with you.
If you are a member of BUPA or HBF health funds – we are a preferred provider, so you will maximise your benefit when you make a claim for your treatment. Alternatively, if you have a Centrelink income, you may be entitled to government funding to assist with your treatment, under the Country Dental Health Services scheme., although not all treatments are covered under this Scheme.
If you haven’t been to our surgery before we are happy to arrange a 15-minute consultation, with no out of pocket cost, to do a brief examination of your mouth, and discuss treatment options. At your consultation it is likely that the dentist will recommend a full examination and some x-rays for starters to determine fully what your treatment plan should be.