As we transition to the new normal in a world with covid-19, I have found that the #1 cause of emergencies in my Sunnyvale dental office are fractured teeth. I've blogged about how stress can cause dental emergencies, such as broken teeth or root canals. In cases of teeth with large chips or fractures, crowns are recommended to preserve the teeth and keep them functional, healthy, and serviceable.
Many of our patients understand the importance of getting crowns to protect their teeth and are proactive about preserving their teeth, but I wanted to talk briefly about what happens if you don't get a crown.
Crowns protect your teeth from further damage.
Teeth with large existing fillings, fractures, or large cavities may not be able to withstand the forces exerted when chewing. Delaying recommended treatment compromises your teeth and puts them at increased risk of fracturing. When you have a tooth with an existing fracture or a large cavity, the integrity of the tooth is compromised. By "capping" your tooth structure, crowns can protect your teeth from further damage.
Crowns can keep your tooth serviceable for many years.
I am happy to help my patients in Sunnyvale save and care for their teeth. When fractured or decayed teeth are caught before the damage is too extensive, crowns can protect their teeth. In some situations, the extent of the fracture is so large that the tooth cannot be saved. One problem that dentists cannot help you fix is a vertical root fracture. This occurs when your tooth fractures in a way that it runs parallel to your root and extends below your bone level. When teeth have vertical root fractures, we need to think about ways to replace them.
Delaying recommended treatment may lead to unfavorable outcomes.
I had a patient come into my office because she chipped her tooth. The original fracture was between the filling and natural tooth structure. I explained my concerns regarding further fracture of the tooth and recommended a crown. I was concerned she would bite down and cause the tooth to fracture even further.
My patient returned 3 weeks later and mentioned that she noticed her tooth broke further. I took the pictures above at each of her appointments with me. The first picture was taken the day we met. If you look closely, you can see the fracture located between the filling and natural tooth structure.
The second and third photos, taken 3 weeks later, show the damage that occurred. At this point, a section of her tooth was missing, and another section of her tooth had fractured so badly that it was moving. This fracture extended vertically beneath her bone level.
As mentioned before, dentists can't save teeth with vertical root fractures. Unfortunately, this patient will need her tooth replaced with an implant and an implant crown.
Be proactive. Visit your Sunnyvale dentist to help protect and save your teeth.
If you've noticed a filling or tooth that has chipped recently, schedule an appointment for yourself in our Sunnyvale office. We can discuss ways to help you protect and save your teeth. The solution may be as simple as a nightguard, or your situation may require a crown to avoid an emergency visit.