Broken teeth (or fractures of the crown of the tooth) can be unsightly, sharp, and risk damage to the underlying tooth tissue. Teeth can chip or break due to trauma, but they can also fracture through underlying tooth decay (cavities). Teeth that are brittle due to root canal treatment, congenital abnormality or tooth grinding (bruxism) may chip more easily.
A tooth may have damage to its hard tissue – a chip or fracture of the crown or crown and root – or it may have damage to the supporting soft tissues and blood vessels. The fracture can go through enamel only, through into the sensitive yellow tissue under the enamel (dentine) or into the nerve and blood vessels (pulp). It is important to have the affected teeth checked to ensure that any injures are treated appropriately and promptly.
The long-term prognosis for any tooth depends on how severe the injury is and how rapidly it is treated. No matter how small an injury seems, if a tooth has been knocked or chipped, dental advice should be sought immediately.