A broken tooth is a common dental injury. This is especially true among sports players and children. And sometimes, teeth can snap in half, or even worse, snap down to the gum line. Snapped teeth are a dental emergency that require urgent treatment. If you have snapped a tooth, book a dental appointment before the problem worsens.
Snapped teeth are open to infection
The biggest risk that comes from leaving a snapped tooth untreated is infection. Once snapped, the inside of a tooth is open to the oral cavity. Your oral cavity contains millions upon millions of bacterial organisms. Some of those organisms cause tooth decay and dental infections.
A dental infection can progress very quickly if allowed to take hold. You could go to sleep tonight with a broken tooth and wake up tomorrow with a painful dental abscess below your tooth.
Snapped teeth can cause considerable pain
Even if infection-free, a snapped tooth can still cause you considerable pain. Each tooth has a single vertical nerve. These nerves transmit feeling to the brain. One of those feelings is pain. Normally, with the protective layer of dentin and enamel, the sensations you feel with a tooth are minimal. But once a tooth snaps, normal sensations become heightened considerably.
That means that every time you expose your snapped tooth to extreme temperatures, you'll experience high levels of pain and sensitivity. The nerves in snapped teeth also respond to acidic foods. You need to get to your dentist quickly to seal the tooth and avoid the pain that might come from eating and drinking hot, cold or acidic foods.
Snapped teeth can decay quickly
With no strong enamel layer to protect it, a snapped tooth will quickly succumb to tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when oral bacteria secrete acids onto teeth. These acids take time to break down enamel. But dentin, the layer under enamel, does not have the same protective qualities as enamel because it is porous. As a result, tooth decay will quickly progress through a snapped tooth.
Snapped teeth are unsightly, but they can be fixed
Snapped teeth are usually in the front part of the mouth. And they can have a negative impact on your smile and on your confidence. But with a quick trip to your dentist, you can have a dental crown placed over the snapped tooth to protect the tooth and restore your smile.
If you have snapped a tooth, consider it a dental emergency for these reasons. Remember, once you lose a permanent tooth, you don't have a natural replacement. And even if your snapped tooth can't be saved, you can replace it with a dental implant, bridge or partial denture. But you need to act quickly.
Contact a local emergency dentist for more information.