Don't throw away broken teeth.
If it is an adult tooth, things could get more complicated. If the tooth ultimately comes out or moves into the gum, you might need to visit an oral surgeon. Your general dentist can refer you to one.
Do not dry the tooth. If possible, you can place the tooth in the milk or the child's mouth. Make sure they do not swallow. If the tooth shifts or the position moves, you probably need to visit an oral surgeon to reposition the tooth. Most likely, you need root canal treatment.
When you break the adult tooth, and no nerve (pulp) is exposed, and the position has not moved, general dentists usually can help, but it would be ideal to seek cosmetic dentists.
Save a broken piece of tooth
If you have the piece of the chipped tooth, bring it to the dentist, and sometimes we can bond the piece back. If you do not have the broken portion of the tooth, we can always rebuild the tooth.
Usually, we use a direct bonding or direct veneer technique for children. Lab processed porcelain veneers are possibilities and better, but they cost more, and your child's gum line will keep moving up naturally over time. So, most of these cases will end up needing to replace the porcelain veneers sooner.
Direct veneers before and after
Here is a case for direct bonding or direct veneers to a 7-year-old girl. When she fell, she hit and broke 2 of her upper front teeth. As you can see, all her teeth are not in a final position, and she has more baby teeth in the back. She might need braces in the future. So, lab-processed porcelain veneers are not an option. She was fortunate to have no nerve (pulp) exposure or tooth shift or movement. I only rebuilt the chipped area by bonding direct veneers (Composite). Unlike porcelain veneers, dentists have to do the whole procedure, so it is very technique sensitive, and not all dentists can get excellent natural-looking results.
My American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) 's Accreditation exam passed case shows the use of layered bonding over the teeth.Natural look and strength: Just like your original teeth
As you can see, the two central teeth have different lengths when finished and not straight, but after they fully erupt or after braces, they should match.
And because they are bonding or direct veneers, at a later time, if they do not straighten, we can always modify them, which is impossible with lab-made porcelain veneers. We can do this in one visit without anesthesia, and usually, we make another appointment for a bite check because if you have a slightly high bite, it could chip the bonding. We need to do a simple follow-up at the dental cleaning appointments to see if the color changes to brown. If so, the nerve is dead or dying and will need root canal treatment. However, with newly erupted adult teeth, it is less likely. Suppose this should happen to the adult's permanent teeth. In that case, the possibility of root canal treatment is higher, and lab-processed porcelain veneers or crowns usually have a better result and are recommended.It gets more complicated if the tooth breaks and the nerve (pulp) exposure is noted.
Dr. Shimizu is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. There are 419 dental professionals worldwide (Only four in Houston) as of 2022 who have achieved this prestigious honor.