General Dentistry Options to Repair a Broken Tooth

General Dentistry Alexandria, VA

One problem that arises frequently in general dentistry is teeth that are chipped or broken. If the damage to a tooth is severe, it may be necessary to extract it. However, this is only done if there are no other options available. In cases of mild to moderate damage to a tooth, it may be possible to repair it.

How do teeth get broken?

Chipped or broken teeth are seen frequently in general dentistry. They have several possible causes.

Inadequate oral hygiene and dental care can lead to extensive decay. As the tooth's enamel breaks down over time, it becomes weaker. Eventually, the structural integrity of the tooth may become so compromised that it cannot stand up to even the normal demands of chewing and fractures under the stress.

It is common for teeth to be chipped or broken due to trauma. Like other bones, teeth can only withstand a certain amount of force. If this level is exceeded by a blow to the mouth, the tooth can break under the pressure. Trauma that results in a broken tooth can result from sports injuries, altercations, or motor vehicle accidents. It can also occur gradually over time, such as when a person repeatedly chews on ice or opens containers with the teeth.

What options are available for repair?

General dentistry offers several options for the repair of a broken tooth. What treatments are available to an individual patient depend on the extent and seriousness of the damage.

Crown or cap

Sometimes called a cap, a crown is a prosthesis that is the same shape as a tooth. It fits over a broken tooth to hold the pieces together and restore the tooth to its original strength and functionality. To make enough room for the crown, a portion of the remaining tooth has to be ground down or filed away. A commonly recommended option for repairing extensive damage to a tooth, crowns are available in different materials, including metal and tooth-colored porcelain or resin.

Bonding or filling

If the damage to the tooth is not extensive, a dentist may be able to repair it with a tooth-colored filling or composite bonding. Bonding involves applying a resin to the tooth with an adhesive material. The resin is sculpted to match the shape of a natural tooth, and then the dentist hardens it using an ultraviolet light. Because the resin is tooth-colored, the bonded tooth is almost indistinguishable from natural teeth.

Root canal

If there is damage to the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be performed to preserve it. The procedure involves clearing out the damaged or infected pulp and then sealing it with a biocompatible material. Because removing the pulp can weaken the tooth, a root canal is often followed up by a crown.


If damage to a broken tooth is mild or moderate, it may not be necessary to extract it. General dentistry offers several options to repair a broken tooth based on how extensive the damage is.

Request an appointment here: or call Alexandria Old Town Dental at (703) 763-1078 for an appointment in our Alexandria office.

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