Why did a piece of my tooth break off

A broken tooth can happen to anyone at any age, or if you grind or clench your teeth, experience some trauma, or another cause. You may not have any immediate symptoms of a cracked or fractured tooth that you can identify. Or you might have some pain, some sensitivity, or even swelling. Your dentist will treat the broken tooth with the appropriate solution, depending on the location and severity.

A fractured or cracked tooth is when a crack appears. The crack may be small and harmless. Or it could cause your tooth to completely break off.
Tooth fractures happen more often in smaller children and older people, although anyone can crack a tooth. If you believe you might have a broken tooth, call your dentist.

What Parts of a Tooth can Crack?

A tooth consists of two parts:

* The crown which is visible above your gums.
* The anchoring roots which lie below your gums.

Every tooth also consists of several layers:
* Enamel: The hard white protective outer surface.
* Dentin: The second layer of the tooth.
* Pulp: The soft living tissue in the center that contains nerves and blood vessels.

A fractured or broken tooth can affect only one or all these layers. The correct treatment for a broken tooth depends on where the fracture is located on the tooth and the severity of the crack.

A broken tooth can be quite painful or sensitive, even though some fractures cause few symptoms. Seeing your dentist for an examination increases your chances of restoring a cracked tooth.

Common Causes for a Fractured, Cracked, or Broken Tooth

Frequent causes of tooth fractures are:
* Bruxism, which is teeth clenching or grinding.
* An accident or trauma, including a fall, a sports injury, a car accident, or a bike accident.
* Unhealthy habits, like chewing ice or using your teeth as a tool.
* Your age, with many tooth cracks happening at age 50 and older.
* Biting on hard foods, such as popcorn, or candy.
* A large dental filling or a root canal, which weakens the tooth.

Cracks, fractures, and breaks happen more often with your upper front teeth. Often people fracture one tooth, but increased trauma can damage multiple teeth. If you have cavities, you also have a higher risk of a tooth breaking off.

The Most Common Symptoms and Signs of a Cracked, Fractured, or Broken ToothA cracked tooth is often not immediately evident. When it becomes evident, the symptoms include:
* A throbbing toothache while biting.
* Discomfort or pain, especially during chewing.
* An increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
* Swelling and tenderness of the gums around the tooth.

When A Damaged Tooth Escalates

A cracked or broken tooth can lead to an infection, even a tooth abscess. Make an appointment to see your dentist if you notice a symptom such as:
* Constant tooth pain.
* Bad breath, or halitosis.
* Sensitivity to temperature changes.
* Swollen or tender gums.
* A fever.
* Swollen lymph nodes.

The Broken Tooth Restoration Procedure

Repairing a broken tooth can take only one visit or several depending on the necessary treatment. Your dentist will propose the solution once the severity is identified. For example:
* Dental bonding: Completed in one hour.
* A dental crown: Properly fitted in two appointments.
* An extraction: The extraction is immediate, but your replacement option will take longer.
* Veneers: It will take several weeks to create custom veneers.


Broken Tooth and Infection