Common Causes of a Broken Tooth and How to Avoid Them!

Developing a tooth crack, chip, or damage can be caused by minor or serious injuries, which can lead to a broken tooth or oral problems that may warrant seeking emergency dental care. Problems associated with this type of dental issue are evident in symptoms that can range from pain when chewing even soft food, to tooth sensitivity or excruciating pain when exposed to extreme temperatures (either very hot or cold).


In this article, you will learn about the different types of fractures that you may sustain and the common causes.


Types of Fractures


Fractures can range from minor to severe; however, only a dentist can make a proper diagnosis about the type sustained. Different types of fractures can be classified as follows:


  • Fractured cusp: This type of fracture occurs on the pointed parts of the tooth (cusp) and can lead to broken teeth around dental fillings or crowns. It is not usually painful; however, if left untreated, it can cause severe pain.


  • Craze lines: also called hairline cracks, these are common minor cracks that occur on the surface of the front tooth and don’t cause any pain whatsoever.


  • Vertical root fracture: occurs on the area below the gumline, starting from the root to the crown. It is not associated with any pain or symptoms unless it gets infected by bacteria, which can then cause a series of problems such as toothache and swollen gums.


  • Split tooth – this is an advanced crack that extends from the crown to the root, splitting it into two parts. With this type of fracture, it is possible to lose a portion of your tooth. 


    The above fractures are caused by the following factors:


    Age – With age, the teeth become weaker, increasing their vulnerability to cracks due to wear and tear, and other oral problems sustained over the years. People of mature age can develop craze lines or more severe fractures that can result in a broken tooth.


    Hard food – Chewing on hard foods, such as hard candy, popcorn kernels (popcorn that didn’t “pop”), ice, nuts, and much more can lead to fractures.


    Root canal – Root canal treatment removes tissues and nerves that supply the teeth with nutrients to nourish them and make them stronger. Therefore, after the procedure, some people may sustain a broken tooth due to increased weakness.


    Grinding- Teeth grinding or bruxism, which mostly occurs in some people when they are sleeping, can also cause cracks or other types of fractures. In addition to grinding, there is also clenching, which causes similar dental issues.


    Old fillings – Old fillings are susceptible to deterioration or dislodging, leading to issues such as fracture cusps or other types of dental fractures.


    Trauma (sports or a fall) – Dental trauma such as falling, accidents, and sports injuries causing trauma to the facial area or the mouth can cause minor cracks, a broken tooth, or loss of teeth, depending on the severity.


    There are various methods you can adopt to reduce your susceptibility to dental fractures, such as developing robust oral hygiene to properly care for your oral health and consuming foods rich in calcium to make your teeth stronger. In addition, it is important to visit a reputable dentist regularly to avoid these fractures, get an early diagnosis, and learn ways to mitigate dental problems. A dentist may also recommend using a mouth guard for patients dealing with bruxism.


    Dental fractures can be a consequence of a series of problems, and while the majority of them are not associated with pain, some may cause severe discomfort and make you feel self-conscious about your smile by having a broken tooth. Oral hygiene and regular visits to a reputable and experienced dentist can prevent a lot of these issues.


    Author Plate

    Ellen Smythe is a Practice Manager at Smile Arts of NY, a dental office that provides the best care and advanced modern cosmetic dental procedures, including teeth whitening, porcelain crowns, veneers, Invisalign, dental implants and emergency treatments. If you have a problem with a broken tooth or any other emergency, Smile Arts can help for that as well. We have been helping New York City residents achieve the look and care they’ve always wanted with their state-of-the-art, affordable dental services since 2010

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