Did you know that dental enamel – the hard, outermost layer of your teeth – is actually harder than bone? In fact, it may surprise you to discover that your tooth enamel is actually the hardest substance in your whole body. Yet despite this, it is far from infallible. Our teeth can still become damaged, either through an injury, as a result of decay or by us foolishly using our teeth as tools, such as for opening bottles or packaging. It can also occur if you suffer from a condition known as bruxism, which occurs when we subconsciously or unconsciously clench and grind our teeth, putting them under immense pressure. When this happens, our teeth can become chipped or cracked.
If you have a tooth that is chipped, you might not experience dental pain unless the chip is large enough that the inner layers of the tooth have been affected. However, since the dentin and pulp are much softer, they are more sensitive and will be affected when you eat something particularly hot, cold or sweet. They are also much more vulnerable to decay and this could progress more quickly due to the ease with which it can work its way through the dental tissue.
If you have a tooth that has fractured, your dentist will need to determine how deep the crack goes. It may only affect the enamel of the tooth, or it may penetrate all of the layers right down to the root. Again, the extent of the crack will determine how much pain you might experience. However, in some cases the discomfort you experience may be severe.
Fortunately, restoring a tooth that is chipped or cracked is normally a fairly straightforward procedure. There are two treatments that your dentist will consider before any others. These are: dental bonding and placing a porcelain veneer.
Dental bonding is the name given to a simple restorative treatment that involves pasting a special tooth-colored resin on to your affected tooth. This resin is then shaped and molded to the tooth so that it fits it perfectly and covers the chip or crack, and hardened using a special light. Once solid, your tooth can be polished as normal so that it looks just like your natural teeth. The process takes under an hour and is extremely effective. The resin also adds strength to the tooth so that further damage is less likely to occur.
Dental veneers have a number of different uses, both cosmetic and functional. However, in the case of teeth that are chipped or cracked, they can be used to cover the imperfection and prevent further damage. Each veneer is a custom designed porcelain shell that is glazed in a shade to match existing teeth. In order to place the veneer, a little of the natural enamel must first be filed down which is done using a local anesthetic. The veneer is then cemented permanently in place on to the front of the affected tooth. Once complete, it becomes impossible to tell that a crack or chip was ever present.
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, our experienced dental team would be happy to assess your smile and make a recommendation as to the best way to treat you and restore your tooth’s strength and appearance. Please contact us here at Bronxville Family Dental today by calling 914-935-7600 to schedule your appointment.