Half my tooth broke off

You might not think about them a lot, but your teeth are incredible. Designed to withstand the forces of biting and chewing, remaining flexible yet stable while weathering pressures supported by the bones and muscles of the jaw, the ligaments that hold them in place, and the gums that support and protect them from invasive bacteria. If you don’t care for your teeth properly, they can decay, become infected, and die, and you could lose teeth and also lose the bone in the jaw, which is reabsorbed into the body for other uses in the absence of tooth roots to keep it stimulated in the jaw. The thing about your teeth is that the structures, tissues, and mechanisms that allow them to function properly are all interconnected so closely that if one structure fails, the entire system could collapse in an avalanche of damage. If half your tooth broke off, this could trigger a domino effect across the oral cavity and lead to far greater damage in the long term, so see your dentist immediately for diagnosis and prompt treatment to help your teeth serve their amazing purpose.

Tooth decay can cause a tooth to break, crack, or fracture if it is left untreated and spreads, killing the tooth and causing it to fall out; severely compromised teeth will often fracture as they fall out, cracking into smaller pieces. The most effective way to prevent tooth decay is with conscientious oral hygiene, which must include twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, daily flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for checkups and professional cleanings. If you have any cavities, filling them promptly can prevent the damage that is wrought on teeth by excessive tooth decay.

Gum disease is another common culprit when it comes to lost or damaged teeth. The gums provide a protective framework for the teeth, and when they become infected and inflamed, they pull away from the teeth, allowing invasive bacteria and other impurities to enter the vital tissues inside the teeth through their roots. When this happens, the teeth can loosen and become mobile, and they can eventually fall out. Gum disease can be prevented the same way tooth decay is, and dental visits are even more important when it comes to diagnosing gum disease, which is often asymptomatic in its earlier stages. The good news is that gum disease can be reversed when intercepted early, and dentists check for gum disease at routine dental checkups. When gum disease is allowed to progress into periodontal disease, it can be treated but can’t be reversed.

Sometimes, people’s teeth break or fall out simply because of aging. As we age, we lose density in our bones, including the bones of the jaw. We also lose density in the calcified tissues that make up the outer layers of our teeth, and the teeth become more prone to chipping or breaking. Maintaining a healthy diet that includes calcium supplements can help offset these natural effects of aging, and dental checkups can assess your bone density if it becomes a concern and offer treatment options. Of course, accidents can also cause a tooth to break in half or fall out, when a person bears an impact to their face. If you break or lose a tooth in an accident or fall, get to a dentist as quickly as you can to see if your tooth root is compromised and can be saved, or if the tooth will need to be repaired or even extracted and replaced.

What happens if you leave a broken tooth?