It is a fairly common occurrence for dentists to see patients with broken teeth. Usually, the patient is aware of the broken tooth but may not remember when it broke. In other cases, the patient may be unaware of the broken or fractured tooth if there are no symptoms. Overall, the more mature among us tend to have a higher incidence of tooth fracture and this is likely due to several reasons. First, our teeth tend to become more brittle as we age and protective enamel tooth structure tends to wear away leaving teeth vulnerable to damage. In general, older individuals are more likely to lose a back tooth or teeth and not get a replacement, which in turn puts additional strain on the remaining teeth allowing susceptibility to shift and crack. As we age and tend to take more medications, the mouth tends to dry out leading to increased decay rates and in turn weaker teeth. Teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy during early or middle age also tend to have a greater tendency to break later in life as the root of the tooth loses its “flexibility” over time due to the lack of a live nerve. Live nerves normally also “warn” us if we are biting too hard or biting on a hard object and prevent us from damaging our teeth.
Many of the causes of tooth fracture can be prevented or minimized by being examined on a regular basis, being aware of your potential deleterious habits such as tooth grinding, and replacing back teeth when possible in order to help stack the odds in your favor. Ask your dentist or hygienist what you can do to minimize potential problems in the future.
For questions about this and other dental procedures contact Dr. Guller at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-391-5565.
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