When you hear the word crown in relation to dentistry you probably think of the crowns we put on a damaged tooth. In reality, the crown is a part of your tooth.
The crown of your tooth is the part that is covered with enamel. When your teeth first come in, this is the part you can see sticking up through the gums. When we refer to a crown fracture you will refer to it as a broken or chipped tooth. Should you call us if you break or chip your tooth? Yes, you absolutely should.
There are two kinds of fractured crowns. Some are complicated and others are uncomplicated. When you have an uncomplicated crown fracture, it involves only the enamel or the enamel and dentin portions of your tooth. When you have a complicated crown fracture, the enamel and dentin are affected, but the pulp is also exposed.
In the anatomy of your tooth, the enamel is the part your brush and it is a protective covering for the internal parts of your tooth. The dentin is the next internal layer of your tooth and inside of that is the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels and extends all the way down to the root of your tooth.
How Do You Treat a Fracture?
First, we examine your tooth and take x-rays to determine the amount of damage done to the structure that is not visible to the naked eye. An uncomplicated fracture involves only the enamel or the enamel and dentin structure. We will check to ensure that tooth fragments weren't embedded in your lips, tongue or gingiva and we test to see if your pulp is sensitive. If it is a small fracture, like a chip, we may simply smooth the rough edges. If it's a larger fracture, we may be able to restore the tooth structure.
If you have a complicated fracture the treatment is different. The initial exam is the same. We check for embedded fragments and take x-rays. We don't test your pulp sensitivity because the pulp is involved is visible. The x-ray for a complicated fracture also includes the soft tissue that has been injured to be sure the pulp wasn't contaminated by any foreign bodies. What we want to accomplish is to make sure your pulp retains its vitality and your teeth look good and can function properly.
If you break or chip your tooth call us immediately. Some treatment options are dependent on the amount of time that has elapsed between the time of the accident and the time treatment begins.
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