Clinical, Opinions

How to protect your teeth from breaking

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WHAT CAUSES BROKEN, FRACTURED, CRACKED TEETH AND OTHER DENTAL TRAUMA?

The most commonly encountered causes that can lead to chipped, fractured, broken teeth and other traumatic dental injuries are as follows:

  • Accidents
  • Assaults
  • Untreated Dental Cavities
  • Root Canal Treated Teeth without Crowns
  • Teeth with Temporary Fillings left for a Prolonged Period of Time (More than a month)
  • Forceful Grinding or Clenching
  • Biting or Chewing Very Hard Substances
  • Utilizing Teeth for Something other than Chewing
  • Crooked Teeth

HOW DOES ONE PREVENT INJURIES SUCH AS TOOTH FRACTURES, CHIPPED, BROKEN OR CRACKED TEETH AND OTHER TOOTH TRAUMA?

  • It is important to have a scheduled dental checkup every 6 months in order to diagnose problems early on and undergo treatment as soon as possible to prevent dental decay. Tooth decay predisposes a tooth to fractures by weakening and damaging the tooth structure or fillings.
  • Do not sleep on getting a dental crown for your root canal treated tooth. Root canal therapy allows the blood supply to the tooth to be completely cut off as the pulp is completely removed. The tooth is no longer receiving any nutrition thus; it is brittle and susceptible to fractures.
  • Get your temporary filling replaced with permanent fillings as soon as your endodontist or dentist recommends you to do so. Temporary fillings are not as strong as permanent fillings and tend to wear over time. This leaves behind unprotected and unsupported teeth that are increasingly susceptible to fracture.
  • Use protective equipment where necessary. When traveling, always wear a seat belt. When engaged in sporting activities, it is suggested you wear protective custom made athletic mouth guards to ensure a proper fit.
  • Stay away from heated and intense situations or encounters that may lead to any physical altercation or assault.
  • Kick bad habits to the curb such as chewing on bones or other things not meant for consumption.
  • Do not use your teeth to tear open or break things or open bottles.
  • If you have a parafunctional habit of grinding your teeth or clenching them, consult your dentist and ask for a night guard. The normal pressure during chewing is approximately 175 P.S.I. (Pounds per Square Inch.) During sleep, you may generate 300 P.S.I. or more as there is no food present to absorb the impact and your protective reflexes are not at work.
  • Attend to any misalignment problems. Properly aligned teeth are much less susceptible to fracture as they do not absorb a huge amount of individual force. Teeth that are more forwardly placed that the rest are automatically more prone to trauma because they will be the first objects that make contact upon impact. It is recommended that you seek proper orthodontic treatment by using either traditional braces or clear Invisalign braces.

Our teeth are surrounded by bone and soft tissue that support and hold them in place. However, a tooth is also held in its respective position by other surrounding teeth. When a tooth is removed from its socket, it leaves behind a vacant space. The teeth that lie above or below and in front or behind it tend to move towards the empty space. This relative shifting of teeth contributes to a change in the way you bite and the way in which force is applied to the other remaining teeth in the mouth whilst you chew. These new stresses are capable of chipping, fracturing, or even breaking other teeth.

As the teeth move to fill the initial vacant space, they create new spaces between the other teeth in the mouth. These new spaces instigate food entrapment which can promote plaque accumulation and eventually result in periodontal disease. This periodontal disease will progress over time and trigger bone loss as well as subsequent tooth loss. The greater the number of missing teeth in one’s mouth, the more impaired is their ability to properly chew food. Improper chewing can lead to improper digestion and hence, poor nutrition.

Missing teeth do not come with simply physiological problems. There are many associated social and psychological problems that accompany it. Missing teeth can make a person look and feel older than they actually are. Those who have missing front teeth often struggle with social anxiety and avoid smiling or try to hide their flaw in social settings. With tooth removal, there is a subsequent reduction in facial height which allows one’s face to look more recessed and sunken in. The lower third becomes shorter when the posterior teeth are absent. This can result in significant changes in appearance which in turn can lead to self-esteem and confidence issues.

If you care about the impression you makes on others in your personal life or your professional life, it is recommended that you take cosmetic dentistry into consideration to replace your missing teeth.

WHAT TO DO IF THE BROKEN TOOTH CANNOT BE SAVED AND MUST BE EXTRACTED?

There are quite a few options that can replace missing teeth. For single tooth replacements, consider dental implants and dental bridges. For multiple missing teeth, opt for a partial denture for a practical tooth replacement solution. Discuss your needs with a dental professional who will be able to guide you through all available options for you after careful clinical examination.

 

May 22, 2017
Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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