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Chipped or Broken Tooth or Dental Appliance - Topic Overview

A chip or break in a tooth may occur suddenly with an injury or develop slowly over time because of wear and tear. A chip, crack, or break in the tooth enamel is less serious than one to a deeper layer of your tooth camera.gif. A chip may result from grinding the teeth at night. A dentist can recommend a course of treatment for you.

Breaks (fractures), defects, or cracks that go deep into the tooth and involve most of the top (crown) of permanent teeth must be checked by a dentist. Deep fractures or cracks can lead to inflammation, infection, or death of the tooth. The center of the tooth (pulp) must be protected within a few hours of the injury to increase the chances of saving the tooth. Root canal treatment or a restoration may be needed. A restoration, such as a crown, will cover the tooth and hold the tooth together.

Bleeding is serious when it occurs inside a permanent tooth after the tooth has been broken. Prompt dental treatment can often prevent the tooth from dying.

A sharp piece of tooth or dental appliance, such as an orthodontic wire, may irritate your mouth and, if left in a mouth wound, can delay healing and lead to infection or scarring. A broken dental appliance can interfere with your ability to open and close your mouth or can be accidentally swallowed. A dentist can smooth the rough edges of the tooth, replace pieces of the tooth, or fix the broken dental appliance.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 20, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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