A broken molar is a dental emergency, as it has the potential to cause severe pain, small chips, and fractures. Therefore, visit your dentist immediately if a molar has broken off at or under your gum line.
Read more to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of a broken molar.
Causes of a Broken Molar
Factors contributing to a broken molar are:
- Weakness caused by filling
- Aging teeth
- Accidentally biting something hard
Tooth decay caused by untreated cavities
- Chronic teeth grinding
- Recurrent cavities
- Sudden changes in the mouth temperature
- Facial trauma from sports injuries and accidents
Symptoms of a Broken Molar
A broken molar at your gum line will cause you to:
- Sense the missing or broken part of your tooth with your tongue.
- See the broken tooth appearing pink or yellow. If the tooth appears dark brown or black, it may indicate tooth decay.
- Feel the sharp and jagged edge of the remaining fragment in your gum, which can cause inflammation.
- Bleed from broken blood vessels.
- Experience pain from exposed nerve roots or while consuming cold or sweet foods or beverages.
Complications of a Broken Molar
If not treated, a broken molar can cause:
- Tooth decay due to the lack of enamel to cover blood vessels and nerves
- Nerve damage
- Infection, which may spread to your jaw bone
Treatment for Broken Molar
Many factors, including the depth of the break and how quickly you act, will help your dentist determine the available options for broken molars. These may include:
- Reattaching Bone Fragment
Your dentist will use bonding agents to reattach the broken tooth if your tooth is not deeply broken. They may combine this procedure with a root canal if the tooth pulp is exposed.
- Root Canal
When your tooth’s inside is inflamed or infected, a root canal is performed to remove the pulp (containing nerves and blood vessels) from your tooth’s center and replace it with rubbery filling.
When a molar is broken below your gum line, you will be asked to wear aligners or braces on the fractured tooth for some weeks to pull it above your gum line.
- Filling or Crown
If the damage is minor, your dentist may use a filling to fix your broken molar or crown to cover it. They may perform a crown lengthening procedure if not enough tooth is exposed to hold the crown.
- Tooth Extraction or Replacement
If your tooth cannot be restored, your dentist will extract it and replace it with a denture, endosteal implant, or dental bridge.
How Long Is the Recovery?
Your recovery can take a few days to a few weeks depending on the procedure performed to fix your broken molar. Follow the after-care instructions recommended by your dentist including, avoiding sticky or crunchy foods, chewing with the broken tooth, and drinking using a straw.
How to Prevent a Broken Molar?
- Do not use your teeth to break or cut anything.
- Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth.
- Avoid chewing on hard foods.
- Reduce consuming foods and beverages high in sugar.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
Fractured teeth are vulnerable to decay and infection because they lack protective enamel, which covers the nerves and blood vessels inside. Untreated broken molars can cause infection, abscess, and nerve damage. Bacteria from this contamination can also infect your jaw bone, surrounding teeth, and gums.
If you need to fix your broken molar, schedule an appointment with our emergency dentist in West Des Moines today!