Broken Tooth – What Do I Do?

Broken tooth - What Do I do - Plano Texas

In this post, we discuss methods of treatment for broken teeth, causes for them, and how you can tell how severe of an emergency it is.

broken tooth what do i do

Teeth are very strong, however, they may chip, crack (fracture) or even break. Several reasons may cause this to happen:

  • Biting down on something hard
  • Being hit in the face
  • Falling
  • Cavities that can weaken the tooth
  • Large, old amalgam fillings that don’t support the remaining enamel of the tooth

When a crack or chip happens to a tooth, it may not hurt. Your tongue will feel the sharp edge, but minor fractures usually do not cause a great deal of pain.

If a large piece is broken off, it will be painful. Damage may have been caused to the nerve endings (exposing the dentin). If the nerve endings are exposed to air, hot or cold food or drinks, extreme discomfort will occur. Pain from a cracked or broken tooth may be constant or come and go. Most will experience pain when chewing because there is pressure on the tooth.

What Can Cause a Tooth to Chip?

1. Bruxism.

Clenching and grinding your teeth together can gradually but persistently erode your teeth, especially at their chewing surfaces. Weakened enamel is much more prone to chip off at even the slightest application of pressure. If you grind your teeth, Your dentist can help protect your enamel by creating a custom made mouth guard for you to wear. This plastic oral appliance fits over your teeth to shield them from damage. Since most people grind their teeth at night, we typically recommend wearing this device during sleep.

If you grind your teeth, Your dentist can help protect your enamel by creating a custom made mouth guard for you to wear. This plastic oral appliance fits over your teeth to shield them from damage. Since most people grind their teeth at night, we typically recommend wearing this device during sleep.

Related: Teeth grinding

2. High impact Sports.

Oral trauma is one of the leading causes of chipping, so athletic activities can raise your risk for this condition. Falling, crashing into another player, or getting hit with a ball could chip one or more of your teeth.

If you play a high-impact sport like hockey, football, baseball, or basketball, it is imperative that you wear a protective oral appliance over your teeth during practices and games. Dr. Wilhite can fit you for a custom made sports guard.

3. Decay.

Caries-causing bacteria produce acids that eat away at your enamel, causing it to break down and become discolored. Teeth with caries are also more likely to chip, which can cause even further damage, since this opening may allow bacteria to infect the internal portion of your tooth.

If you have a cavity, your Dentist can remove the diseased portion of the tooth and place a tooth-colored filling to repair it. If you suffer from an infected tooth pulp, we can perform root canal therapy to clean it and place a dental crown to fortify it against future chipping.

4. Poor Nutrition.

What you eat has a lot to do with your chances for chipping. Consuming sugary, starchy, or acidic foods can erode your enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, eating snacks that put undue pressure on your teeth can raise your risk for damage.

We also recommend avoiding chewing on ice, jawbreakers, or any other excessively hard, brittle foods that unnecessarily test your teeth.

Related: Worst foods for your teeth

Can You Fix A Broken Tooth?

Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it is damaged. If only a small piece of enamel broke off, the repair can usually be done simply in one office visit. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure. Here are some ways your dentist may repair your broken or chipped tooth.

Dental Filling or Bonding

Your dentist may repair the damage with a filling or use a procedure called bonding, which uses a tooth-colored composite resin. Bonding is a simple procedure that typically does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist first etches its surface with a liquid or gel to roughen it and make the bonding material adhere to it. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth followed by a tooth colored resin. After shaping the bonding material to look like a natural tooth, the dentist uses an ultraviolet light to harden the material.

Dental Cap or Crown

A dentist may grind or file away part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown, or tooth-shaped cap, made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance. Permanent crowns can be made from metal, porcelain fused to metal, all resin, or all ceramic. All-metal crowns are the strongest. Porcelain and resin crowns can be made to look nearly identical to the original tooth.

Related: Bruxzir Crowns – Solution for People Who Grind Their Teeth?

Dental Veneers

A dental veneer can make it look whole and healthy again. It is a thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain or resin composite material that covers the whole front of the tooth with a thicker section to replace the broken part of the tooth.

Related: Six Issues Porcelain Veneers Can Fix

We hope that this article helps you if you are dealing with a broken or cracked tooth. We recommend you visit a dentist as soon as possible so they can help you and work to prevent further issues in the future.

Plano Dentist David WilhiteDavid Wilhite is a Plano Dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry with over 30 years experience in general and pediatric dentistry.

Let us help you create a beautiful smile!

Contact us online or call (972) 964-3774


What Causes Dry Mouth?

Is your mouth dry as a desert?Are you feeling the effects of dry mouth?

It’s normal for your mouth to feel dry sometimes. But when a glass of water doesn’t cure it and the feeling persists and becomes constant or frequent, there may be an issue. Dry mouth could be a symptom of something more serious.

Dry mouth can also lead to bad breath, which is something you probably want to avoid.

Related: What causes bad breath?

What is dry mouth?

The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia (zeer-oh-stoh-mee-ah). Xerostomia or dry mouth is a condition when you do not have enough saliva in your mouth to keep it wet or moisturized. It can be uncomfortable, and if it is ongoing, it could by a symptom of other issues.

Symptoms of dry mouth

  • Your tongue feels dry or tough
  • You have a very dry feeling in your mouth and/or throat
  • You feel a sensation of burning on your tongue
  • You have trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking
  • Cracked lips
  • Bad breath
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Gum irritation

Related: How to treat gum disease

Potential causes of dry mouth

  • Dehydration – Dehydration is a common cause. If dehydration is causing your dry mouth, it is a simple matter of rehydrating yourself with water or other fluids.
  • Gum disease – Dry mouth could be a symptom of tooth decay or gum disease. This is an instance where you should contact your dentist.
  • Cigarettes, alcohol or caffeine – Smoking can slow down your saliva production. Alcohol can dehydrate you, dry out your mouth and aggravate symptoms.
  • Medications – Dry mouth is a common side effect of hundreds of medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, diuretics, blood pressure medications, antidepressiants, and cancer medications. If medication may be causing you uncomfortable dry mouth, speak with your doctor.
  • Medical conditions – Dry mouth could be caused by a more serious medical condition. It could be caused by diabetes, depression, Sjögren’s syndrome or Parkinson’s disease, among others.

Related: What are the signs of gum disease?

Treating dry mouth

The solution to your dry mouth symptoms will be dependent on what is causing it. Hopefully, it will be a simple matter of drinking more water.

If your dry mouth is a symptom of tooth decay or dry mouth, make sure you are taking care of your teeth, brushing at least twice daily, and flossing daily. Visit your dentist for tooth decay treatments and to see if there are treatments to reverse your gum disease.

If you believe your dry mouth is not caused by dehydration, smoking, alcohol, or dental health, you should contact your doctor for more information.

If you live in the Plano, Texas area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wilhite by phoning (972) 964-3774 or contact us online.

Valentine’s Day Candy Tips for Your Teeth

Valentine's Day Candy Tips

We know that everybody loves getting some sweets on Valentine’s Day. A little chocolate from your sweetie never hurts, or does it? Are some candies worse than others?

Here are a few things to help you with your candy intake on the big day:

Hard candy is worse for your kids. Not all candies are created or consumed equally. Not only is hard candy almost entirely sugar, it is likely to remain in a kids mouth for a longer period of time. It’s basically giving you kid’s teeth a 30 minute sugar bath. Try to avoid!

Chocolate is better. It may seem strange, but if we’re talking about levels of danger to your teeth, chocolate is not the worst candy. It doesn’t stick to your teeth the way chewy treats do. And if you love chocolate, it has less sugar in it than milk chocolate.

Eat your candy right before or after a meal. It’s much better than popping candy in your mouth all day long. Enjoy your sweets as a post-dinner dessert, and your mouth saliva will be active and rinse it away faster.and then brush your teeth afterward.

Give flowers! Everybody loves flowers. Skip the candy altogether and spend extra on the perfect flower arrangement.

Teaching Your Children to Brush and Floss

Teaching Children to Brush TeethTeaching your children good habits is one of the most important things a parent has to do.

Teaching good brushing and flossing habits will give your kids a healthy habit that will last a lifetime.

Healthy oral hygiene can begin as soon as your child’s first teeth appear.

You should begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush with just water after every meal. Sometime after two years old they can graduate to a fluoride toothpaste.

The main thing when determining whether to use a toothpaste or not is if they have been able to learn whether to spit out excess toothpaste into the sink and rinse or not.

Make sure that you yourself are demonstrating good brushing habits!

Kids learn from watching and a parent who brushes after every meal is setting the best possible example.

Bring your child with you to brush after a meal and chances are your child will be asking you to brush their teeth in no time! Kids naturally want to imitate their parents or siblings.

Not only are you helping your kids, you’re helping protect yourself from gum disease!

When they’re ready for toothpaste

For children less that two years old, apply just a tiny smear smaller than a pea-sized amount.

For children ages 2-5, apply a pea-sized amount.

Parents should still brush their children’s teeth up until at least age five.

After their fifth birthday, use your best parental judgement to decide if your kids are ready to brush alone or not.

Kids Tooth Brushing Video

How to Brush

  • Step 1: The parent or child should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and angle it at 45 degrees towards the gums of the upper and lower teeth.
  • Step 2: The toothbrush should be moved gently in a back-and-forth motion with short strokes along the teeth and gums. This technique should be continued along every tooth’s interior and exterior surface in a similar way.
  • Step 3: The tip of the brush should be placed in an upright position to reach behind the front teeth on the top and bottom.
  • Step 4: Brush the tongue to remove bacteria on the surface.

How to Floss

  • Step 1: Hold a short length of floss between the thumb and index finger, twining it around one finger at each end to gain better control. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when inserting the floss between the child’s teeth.
  • Step 2: Adjust the floss into a ‘C’ shape curve around each tooth and slide it up and down gently along the side of the tooth and under the gumline.
  • Step 3: A new section of floss should be used for each tooth to avoid reinsertion of food and plaque.
  • Step 4: An interdental brush can be used to clean between tooth surfaces that have space.

If you have any questions
please call our office at 972-964-3774

David Wilhite and our office specialize in children’s dental care and we are excited to help you.

We begin taking appointments for children at age three or above.


Image: Pixabay

Source: Colgate


How Gum Disease Effects the Heart

gum disease and heart healthDid you know that research shows the health of your gums can affect the health of your heart?

Many recent health studies show a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Doctors have been talking about this relationship for decades and recent research seems to back them up.

While the research does not currently prove a definitive cause and effect, the data shows that people with periodontal gum disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without.

Related: What are the types of gum disease?

How does gum disease cause heart disease?

The link between gum disease and heart disease seems to be inflammation.  Inflammation is a sure sign of gum disease.

There are two main forms of gum disease. First, there is gingivitis, in which a patient suffers from red, painful gums. The second is periodontitis, which often leads to infected gums with pockets of pus.

Periodontitis is the gum disease you should be most concerned with in terms of how it relates to heart disease. Your gums are full of blood vessels, and this can contribute to bacteria and inflammation spreading to other parts of your body.

Inflammation can cause damage to blood vessels, including those attached to the heart. It’s possible this bacteria may also contribute to plaques that can form in the coronary arteries.

These same issues with inflammation can also contribute to increased chance of strokes as well.

Related post: What are the types of gum disease?

How to prevent heart issues through dental health?

Brushing and flossing – It’s the most basic way to help protect the health of your teeth and gums. It’s also the easiest one to do. You just need to keep up your daily routine of brushing and flossing after every meal.

Regular dental checkups – Keep a routine of getting a checkup with your dentist every six months. This can help detect and treat gum disease as early as possible.

Gingivitis can be treated when caught in it’s earlier stages. This can help stop or at least delay it turning into periodontitis, which is the gum disease associated with heart disease.

Keep your heart healthy along with your smile by scheduling regular trips to you dentist!

Related post: What are my gum disease treatment options?

Are you ready to keep protect your heart health by making sure you have healthy teeth?

Call us today at 972.964.3774

David Wilhite – Dentist in Plano, TX

Image Source: Pacific Beach Smile
Post Sources: Harvard Health PublicationWebMD 

Gingivitis During Pregnancy

gingivitis during pregnancy

Issues Associated With Gingivitis During Pregnancy

Women who are pregnant are likely to have moderate to severe gingivitis, leading to other health issues, according to research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The study from UAB was part of a trial to evaluate the effect of late first trimester to mid second trimester introduction of daily oral hygiene on gingivitis and pregnancy outcomes.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), untreated gingivitis can cause harm to the baby and mother. In fact, gum disease in pregnant women has been linked with preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, and lower birth weight. Nearly half of all pregnant women will experience hormonal changes that can cause gingivitis.

Minimize Risk Of Gingivitis During Pregnancy

How can you prevent gingivitis during pregnancy? You should regularly be brushing, flossing, and using antiseptic mouthwash to make a difference. However, visiting the dentist — and not skipping your yearly cleaning during pregnancy – makes a significant impact in reducing pregnancy complications. Because gingivitis is such a prevalent issue during pregnancy, scientists are researching more solutions.

Lozenge Reduces Risk of Gingivitis During Pregnancy

A different, randomized study has shown that a Lactobacilli reuteri lozenge significantly reduced inflammation and plaque in the mouths of pregnant women. L reuteri is a naturally occurring bacteria is found in humans. However, it is not found in everyone. This bacteria has an antimicrobial effect. Additionally, it does not have a negative impact on tooth health.

The women enrolled in the study were in the beginning of their third trimester. They received lozenges, to be taken twice daily until birth. The results showed that women using the probiotic lozenges had significantly less plaque indices than the placebo group.

Schedule an appointment with David Wilhite DDS today!