A dental implant is a metal implant inserted into the jaw to provide support for an artificial tooth that can then be screwed on top. They are frequently used to replace original teeth after a tooth extraction, when teeth have been removed due to becoming damaged beyond repair.
Although the enamel found on our teeth is the hardest substance in the body, chipped or cracked teeth do happen – and they do cause damage. Depending on the severity of the broken tooth, you may be able to get it fixed fairly easily at the dentist with non-invasive treatment options. If the breakage is more severe, however, your original tooth may be difficult to salvage without further damage.
Whichever way you have broken your tooth, the first step will be to see your dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, here’s our guide on whether you need a dental implant for a broken tooth.
In most cases regarding a cracked or broken tooth, it is pretty unlikely that a small chip or crack will require an implant. Small cracks of the enamel known as craze lines, for example, won’t require any treatment at all; and even larger cracks that run through the enamel down to the nerve of the tooth (pulp) don’t always require a dental implant and can sometimes be treated with a root canal procedure.
You may need a dental implant is if the crack is so severe that the tooth splits, in which case the tooth can no longer be saved. In the case that your broken tooth is severe enough to require removal, it is important you discuss the different options for replacing it with your dentist beforehand. In some cases, you may have to wait up to 6 months after your tooth extraction before your gums and jawbone are healthy enough to withstand the implant procedure – though this will vary depending on your overall dental health.
Discussing any potential replacement options with your dentist is important. A missing tooth can not only have a cosmetic effect, but with time, it can also have an impact on your long-term oral health and quality of life. If the tooth is not replaced, the remaining bones in your mouth can weaken and lose bone density, which could result in further tooth loss. Furthermore, the gap itself left by the tooth can result in the surrounding teeth shifting. This can not only have a cosmetic effect but can also cause general discomfort from the teeth becoming misaligned, along with the impact this could have on the way you naturally chew.
A dental implant essentially works as an anchor that sits within the jaw so your dentist can attach an artificial tooth. It consists of a dental implant body, surgically inserted into the jawbone where the tooth’s root would typically be, and a dental implant abutment which attaches to this metal implant via an abutment fixation screw and extends through the gums and mouth to support the false tooth.
Before the new tooth (or crown) is screwed in, you will have to wait for the implant to settle. This can take up between two to three months. In the meantime, your dentist may provide with a temporary solution. The bone will then bond and grow around the implant as it is fused with the jaw, creating a secure anchor for your new replacement crown.
The benefit of this is that it allows the patient to continue as though they never lost the tooth, with the artificial tooth both looking and feeling like a natural tooth. The implant’s insertion directly into the bone means it is stable and secure within the mouth.
There are alternative measures that can be taken to fix a broken tooth, depending on the severity of the concern. If the tooth can be saved, the majority of alternatives to a dental implant won’t require surgical intervention – and are therefore less invasive. The best option will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of the damage, the location in the mouth where the cracked tooth is, and how many teeth may need to be removed.
Examples of alternatives to tooth implants include:
For less severe chipped or fractured teeth, composite bonding or dental bonding is a great option. Composite bonding is a cosmetic treatment that involves the use of resin to shape and restore the damaged tooth. Composite bonding is a quicker method of repair and recovery that can normally be done within one visit, with the resin hardening under a curing light after being shaped – allowing the patient to comfortably bite and use the tooth normally. Composite bonding solutions are best for fixing cosmetic damage, such as minor cracks or chips of the teeth. Composite bonding costs from £250.00 per tooth.
If a larger piece of tooth breaks off but the root and nerve remain comfortably intact, your dentist may suggest fitting a dental crown. Much like a dental implant, a crown restores the look of your original teeth using durable materials such as porcelain.
Instead of a full extraction and replacement however, after the dentist has ground or filed away part of the remaining tooth, the crown acts as a tooth-shaped cap that protects the tissue beneath while still functioning as a normal tooth. If the entirety of the top of the tooth is broken, not leaving enough for the crown to sit on, a root canal may be performed to attach the crown to the tooth via a pin. The benefit here is that much like a dental implant, a crown looks and functions like a normal tooth. A further benefit to dental crowns are that they preserve what is left of the natural tooth as opposed to replacing it entirely. Dental crowns start at £650.00.
We know just how mentally, and eventually physically draining it can be to have a broken tooth. Leaving a broken tooth without securing a check up with your dentist can lead to further breakage, while exposure of the inner layers of the tooth can unknowingly lead to infection. You may also feel conscious of the way your broken or chipped tooth looks – feeling less confident and impacting your self-esteem.
To ensure your broken tooth is adequately repaired or replaced, visiting your dentist is a must. We understand there may be times it’s more difficult to afford private dental fees; and waiting for NHS dental work is a lengthy process. At Ringway Dental, we believe you should be able to access necessary dental care without worrying about the costs. If eligible, you can apply for our 0% interest finance option to help you manage the costs involved.
To book an appointment with us, call our team at the practice on 0161 437 2029. You can also ask any questions you may have using our online contact form. Don’t leave a broken tooth so long it becomes unmanageable!