Treatment Options for a Broken Molar

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Most of us have experienced a broken tooth at some point in our lives.  You become aware of a broken tooth one of two ways...You crunch down on something completely foreign (a piece of your own tooth) or you suddenly notice that something is missing (a chunk of tooth that you unknowingly swallowed).

Either way is worrisome.  Let me assure you that one way or another it is fixable and not something to lose sleep over.  Though I can't tell you specifically what it will take to restore your former molar, I can walk you through the possibilities.

You have options

Here is a list of the ways broken teeth are restored from the simplest to the most involved.

  • Do Nothing - If you are not in pain and the tooth is not decayed, doing nothing is an option.  Though not the most ideal, it works in some situations.  If there are rough edges they can often be smoothed by your dentist.
  • Have the tooth filled - Depending not the size of the break and how much healthy tooth structure is left, a filling might be the best choice.  
  • Have the tooth extracted - I hate to see a restorable tooth lost but for some it's the best choice.    
  • A Dental Crown - When more than half the tooth is missing a crown is highly recommended. If your tooth is broken and has a large filling a crown is the ideal testament. Some broken teeth also need a root canal, broken teeth that are sensitive or when the break is close to the nerve a root canal is often recommended.

Broken teeth that are not restorable can be replaced

If your tooth is broken beyond repair it can still be replaced.  

A dental bridge can be made to replace a tooth that has 2 healthy adjacent teeth.  Bridges have some advantages but in most cases a dental implant is a better choice. Learn more about dental bridges vs tooth implants here.

Lastly the least desirable way to replace a missing tooth is to have a partial denture made.  Though not the latest and greatest, these removable teeth are still worn and work very well for some.

Don't assume the worst

Any broken tooth is going to feel bigger than it actually is.  Even the smallest breaks can feel rough and have sharp edges.  Your tongue is curious and extra sensitive and has a tendency to exaggerate:)

Ask if there are options.  HINT: there usually are at least 2 options and sometimes there are 3.

Ask questions until the answers make sense to you.

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