Broken Tooth 1. Basic Facts

When a tooth gets fractured, there can be different types. In dentistry, they teach us different classifications but those are quite boring for a layman. So, I have tried to explain various types of tooth fractures by this diagram.

Different degrees of tooth fracture – (Diagrammatic).. you’ll need to click on this photo to see details

In this diagram, you can see that the mildest form of this tooth breakage is the enamel fracture which generally does not cause any symptoms except little discomfort because of sharp tooth margin created due to this breakage. The patient usually comes to get that sharpness removed. Such fractures can be easily repaired – I mean the fractured part can be ‘rebuilt’ with a class of dental materials known as Composites which are not only tooth colored but also come in various shades and hues.

As you see in this diagram, if the fracture is bit more, it involves the second layer of tooth crown namely dentine. However, such fracture at times causes hot and cold sensation for sometime and then he forgets and continues like that. But it must be noted that even for such fractures, repair with dental composites is quite possible. What I have observed, most of the front tooth fractures are seen in boys –perhaps girls are comparatively less outgoing type and less likely to engage in contact sports.

Next we have severe tooth fracture which involves the dental pulp —dental pulp? – means the nerve and blood supply of the tooth is exposed to oral environment and generally patient feels a lot of pain –even a whiff of air or any hot and cold stimulus brings the pain. Immediate management of such teeth is pulp extirpation  –pulp is removed under local anesthesia and then root canal treatment is completed which is then followed by “capping” of broken tooth.

Now a different category which is generally seen (not shown in this diagram) –it is root fracture.  It generally occurs when the impact to the front tooth is quite severe – e.g in road traffic accidents etc in that case, at times even the jaw bone also sometimes get fractured. Such root fractures – if they are near the tip of the root –are mostly quite difficult to manage and may require removal of the broken tooth.

Now, a last category – suppose there is no visible fracture of tooth —apparently it appears safe and sound – but the impact caused to the tooth is so severe that it interferes with the blood supply to the tooth and it gradually starts getting discolored (mostly black) but it may take years to turn black and then suddenly after many years, it starts giving pain and swelling – which gets managed by root canal treatment  followed by ‘capping’.

Writing this post was quite boring, I don’t know why!




About drparveenchopra

Dr Parveen Chopra is Masters in Dental Surgery.. with 35 years of experience in dentistry. For trying his hand in health writing, he studied Communication for seven years. He is a blogger since 2007- he enjoys writing in conversational style.
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