Why did a piece of my tooth break off?

A broken tooth is a situation that does not only occur in older people. There are various reasons for a broken tooth, including an accident, tooth decay, or chewing on hard objects such as a pen or hard candy. The front molars are most frequently affected, which is due to the fact that these are exposed to significantly higher loads when chewing than the other teeth. The event itself is usually an external sign that the affected tooth was already weakened, which is why it is advisable to have the affected area treated as soon as possible in order to avoid long-term problems.

Broken tooth and pain

It is not always the case that a tooth is broken off and causes pain at the same time. In such cases, the fracture is usually due to caries or cavities, and you won’t feel pain if the fracture is not in the area of ​​the nerves and/or the tooth is already dead. Unfortunately, though not commonly, broken teeth can be caused by some dental procedures.

Procedures such as a root canal that require dental drilling can lead to the tooth substance becoming unstable and, as a result, breaking off more quickly. However, even healthy teeth can break off with the nerve still intact and where tooth decay has not yet occurred due to an accident or by chewing hard food. This is generally when you will experience pain. If you break a tooth and are in pain, it is advisable to apply ice to the affected area until you go to the dentist.

Possible tooth loss if treated too late

When a piece of your tooth breaks off, the delicate interior is now exposed, making a visit to the dentist essential to save the tooth. If a dentist is only visited when the pain occurs, it is usually too late, since major damage has likely occurred. In these cases, bacteria can penetrate the broken tooth and cause or worsen tooth decay.

Leftover food in and around the broken tooth can also promote inflammation that damages teeth and gums. In the worst case, however, an infection can get to the nerve of the broken tooth, making root canal treatment unavoidable. The rule of thumb is: the longer you wait for treatment, the lower the chances of being able to repair the fracture and preserve the tooth. If the tooth is broken, prompt treatment is required.

Measures at the dentist

Treatment depends on the extent of the damage and where the tooth broke off. It should be mentioned that not only teeth, but also tooth fillings can break off. In the case of the latter, it makes sense to remove the entire old filling and replace it, even if the old filling has only partially broken off.

If the broken piece of the tooth could be saved, it is often sufficient to glue the broken piece back on, provided the root fibers are not damaged or only slightly damaged. If, on the other hand, the tooth is unusable or has even been lost, a filling must replace the broken tooth substance. A third option for a solid reconstruction is a crown.

Broken Tooth and Infection