Posted on: 13 July 2021Share
If you should suffer an accident that causes a fragment of a tooth to break off, you clearly need emergency dentistry. The tooth itself may hurt, and at the very least, it will cause discomfort when you attempt to eat. Even when pain and discomfort are minimal, it's important that you have your tooth restored urgently. This prevents more serious complications that can develop when a portion of a tooth's structure is lost. What will the dentist do?
The Tooth Fragment
The preferred material to restore a fractured tooth is the tooth fragment that was lost. It can be difficult to keep track of a tiny piece of tooth in the aftermath of an accident. It's very easy to swallow it, but this won't prevent treatment. And yet, if you should spit up the tooth fragment, you need to retain it. The emergency dentist will attempt to cement it back into place, like a jigsaw puzzle.
Other Restoration Methods
When the tooth fragment has been lost, the emergency dentist will restore the tooth using conventional restoration methods. The fragment will be replaced with composite dental resin, which contains tiny particles of glass or ceramic. When dry, the resin will mimic the tooth's natural structure. This drying will be immediate too, as the resin will be light-cured. You will receive specific dietary instructions to follow for several days, which will be focused on avoiding unnecessary bite pressure on the fractured tooth. This will also apply when the tooth fragment is cemented back into place.
Once the missing tooth structure has been restored, the dentist will need to ensure that the tooth will not pose a risk to the soft tissues in your mouth. This is possible when the trauma and/or restoration work has created sharp edges to the tooth. These sharp edges, should they exist, will simply be smoothed away. Don't hesitate to contact the dentist if any sharp edges stay around.
It's not a case of restoring the tooth and then forgetting about it. The tooth's structure may continue to deteriorate, despite the prompt application of restoration materials. There's also the chance that any breach in the tooth's structure will reach the tooth's internal pulp chamber, where the tooth's nerve is located. This can lead to infection, which can in turn require a root canal. Your dentist may recommend a series of follow-up radiographs over the coming months, just to monitor the healing of the fractured tooth and surrounding tissues, allowing a quick response to any problems that might develop.
If a lost tooth fragment doesn't cause any pain, then you should consider yourself lucky. And yet, for the sake of your dental health, the fragment needs to be restored as soon as you're able to do so.
Contact an emergency dentistry clinic to learn more.