If you have a fractured tooth, contact a dentist at No Gaps Dental as soon as possible. Leaving a broken tooth untreated can cause severe oral health complications. Without professional treatment like dental crowns, the broken tooth is susceptible to infection that can spread to your gums, the soft tissues in your mouth, neck and head and, in rare cases, even become life-threatening.
Learn why you need to get a broken tooth fixed and how broken teeth can cause health problems.
Reasons Why Broken Teeth Can Cause Health Problems
While the ADA reports that a growing number of adults are keeping their natural teeth for longer, they have to be vigilant about preventing dental problems like tooth decay, gum disease and broken teeth that can lead to oral health complications.
However, older Australians aren’t the only ones who can experience a broken tooth and subsequent oral health issues.
Causes of broken teeth include:
- Biting into hard foods like hard lollies and popcorn kernels or chewing ice
- Large dental fillings or multiple restorations that weaken the tooth
- Teeth grinding that wears the tooth down
- Trauma from a fall or blow to the face
Signs of an Infected Broken Tooth
A broken tooth can become infected because bacteria can easily access the dental pulp. It is important to recognise the symptoms of an infected broken tooth before the infection progresses. These include:
- Tooth pain: an infected tooth can cause throbbing pain that radiates to your neck, ear, jaw, and head. This persistent pain can make it hard to focus, eat, sleep or talk.
- Swelling and fever: swelling of the lymph nodes and face are common symptoms of an untreated infected tooth. A fever is your body’s way of fighting off the infection.
- Bad breath: if you have an infected tooth, you may experience bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth due to the bacteria in the tooth.
- Tooth sensitivity: sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks causes you to bite and chew on one side of your mouth to avoid discomfort.
- Tooth abscess: this painful pocket of pus builds up on your gum or near the tooth root and causes swelling and bad breath.
Can Broken Teeth Cause Health Problems: Yes!
In most cases, prompt treatment prevents any serious oral health problems. However, if left untreated, those problems can extend to your overall health.
- Gum disease: an untreated broken tooth can result in permanent damage to the tooth and gum damage. Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can make everyday activities like eating and talking challenging. This can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and numerous medical issues.
- Diabetes: Gum disease can lead to higher than normal blood sugar levels and place you at elevated risk for diabetes or worsen the condition.
- Heart disease: bacteria that spread beyond the mouth can make their way into your bloodstream, weakening coronary arteries and leading to a heart attack. Bacteria can also accumulate around the heart’s valves, damaging them and causing heart failure.
- Ludwig’s angina: this rare infection impacts the bottom of the mouth and is caused by the bacteria from an abscess. The bacteria can also spread to the throat resulting in fatal breathing problems.
- Respiratory infections: bacteria from a broken tooth can be breathed into the lungs or travel via the bloodstream. This can result in bronchitis, pneumonia, and COPD.
- Infection of the surrounding tissues and bones: if you have a dental abscess, the infection can spread to the jaw and your sinuses and require surgical intervention.
- Dementia: the bacteria from inflamed gums can spread to nerve channels, enter the bloodstream, killing brain cells and lead to memory loss.
- Erectile dysfunction: bacteria from a diseased tooth and infected gums can get into the bloodstream, causing the blood vessels to become inflamed. This makes achieving erections more difficult.
How to Treat a Broken Tooth?
A broken tooth is a common dental issue we see at our No Gaps Dental locations. While dental crowns are the most common restorative option, the treatment your dentist recommends will depend on the size of the break, the location in your mouth, and your smile goals.
Here are a few treatments your No Gaps Dental professional may decide to do to address your broken tooth:
- Dental bonding: this non-invasive treatment can repair a minor chip in a tooth to restore its appearance.
- Filling: if the tooth break is small, your dentist may opt to restore the tooth’s appearance and functionality with a composite resin filling. They may also recommend partial dental crowns, which address mild to moderate cases of tooth damage and cover only the damaged part of the tooth.
- Root canal treatment: if the break is all the way to the gum line and has damaged the tooth root, you will be prescribed root canal therapy. During this procedure, your dentist cleans and disinfects the root canals, and once the site has healed, you revisit your dentist. Your dentist restores the tooth to full functionality and strength by fitting you for a dental crown. At No Gaps Dental, we offer traditional dental crowns and CEREC dental crowns. Traditional dental crowns take about two weeks to be fabricated off-site, and CEREC dental crowns are milled in our practice using 3D technology.
- Dental crown: after removing decay or broken fragments of the tooth, your dentist shapes the remaining structure to prep it to make an impression of the dental crown. If you choose a traditional dental crown, your impression will be sent to an off-site lab to create your custom dental crown. You will be fitted with a temporary dental crown to protect your tooth until your permanent dental crown is applied. Alternatively, you can choose same-day CEREC dental crowns at one of our No Gaps Dental locations.
- Dental implant: Unfortunately, a tooth with a break below the gum line may need to be extracted. One of the best ways to restore your smile is with a dental implant. The implant is embedded in your jawbone and topped with an abutment and a dental crown for a realistic and natural-looking tooth replacement.
A Healthier Smile Leads to a Healthier You
The No Gaps Dental team can assess your broken tooth and determine the best treatment option for your oral health: dental crowns, bonding, a filling, root canal therapy, or an extraction.
We can help make your dental health a priority with regular check-ups, contributing to your overall health. Call us today on 02 8007 6727.
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