Fractured Teeth: Is There More Than One Type of Fracture?

Dentist 1In a 4-Part series we are going to be discussing fractures in the teeth – what they are and how a dentist can repair them.

In order to best understand a problem with a tooth, we need to first understand what a healthy tooth looks like and how it is made up.

So, in Part 1 we will examine the simple anatomy of a tooth.

At the top of a tooth is the enamel, on the crown of the tooth, which we normally see. The second layer is called the dentin, and the third layer inside the tooth is the pulp, or the nerve tissue. Below this point are the roots in the bone.

1. Crown
Most of the tooth is under the surface, like an iceberg. The portion of the tooth that is above the gum line where we can see it is called the crown.

The purpose of the tooth determines the shape of the crown. For example, the crown of a molar is flat, for grinding, and the crown of a front tooth (incisor) is sharp, for cutting.

2. Enamel
The outer, top-most layer of the tooth is called enamel, and again, this is the layer that we see – it covers the crown. Tooth enamel is the hardest and most mineralized tissue in the entire body. At the same time, this enamel can be easily damaged.

3. Gumline
Where the crown of the tooth and the soft tissue of the gum meet is called the gumline.

4. Dentin

This is the layer in the tooth itself that is just below the enamel. Although it is the layer that protects the nerve, it is porous, with millions of microscopic tubes, called dentin tubules, leading directly to the pulp. These tubules are filled with cellular fluid.

5. Pulp
The soft tissue in the center of the tooth is called the pulp, and is where the nerve tissue and the blood vessels are. Tooth decay that reaches the pulp can cause a great deal of pain.

6. Root
The root is embedded in the bone of the jaw, and anchors the tooth to bone. The root makes up two-thirds of the tooth itself.

Take a look at this video where Dr. Mastrovich explains the tooth in detail:

 

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 Dental fractures can occur in various places on the tooth – they can occur in the enamel or down into the dentin, or even deeper. They can occur obliquely, horizontally, or vertically, and they all have different ramifications of tooth pain and its treatment that we’ll talk about in the rest of this series as we go through the various types of fractures.

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Possible Causes for Tooth Pain

toothacheToothaches, or tooth pain is a much more common occurrence than any of us would like to experience. The term toothache generally refers to any pain you feel around your teeth or jaws that comes from a dental condition such as cavities, cracked teeth, an exposed root, or even gum disease.

The amount of pain you may be experiencing, which can range from relatively mild to very sharp, will vary based on your condition. You may also notice that the toothache gets better or worse depending on how often you are biting or chewing as well as the temperature, (hot or cold), of the beverages you are drinking.

In order to determine the cause of your tooth pain, a dental professional will need to provide you with a thorough oral examination.

Take a look at this video clip from one of our dental patients, Pam, who had an undiagnosed toothache for over a year before visiting Dr. Mastrovich. It was through the use of a special light that the crack in her tooth was finally diagnosed by Dr. Mastrovich at his Escondido dental office:

Tooth pain is definitely no laughing matter and often times you may need to see more than one dentist if your condition is unable to be quickly diagnosed. Don’t settle for a toothache ruining your quality of life, visit your dentist right away.

Photo credit: e-toothacheremedies.com

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