How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Are you planning on having a dental implant placed where the broken tooth fragment is within the next few months?
- Is the broken tooth fragment very small and also dislodged into your sinuses or near your jaw nerve?
- Do you have multiple broken teeth fragments near one another and you are waiting to have them all removed at the same time?
If you answered “yes” to the above questions, and as you noticed there are only a few of them, then you can choose to leave the broken tooth piece in and monitor it. Otherwise you should remove all broken tooth pieces.
It is not a good idea to leave something in your mouth that has the potential to cause you pain or infection. Broken tooth fragments which are left behind can cause cavities on the adjacent teeth, compromise your gum health or even affect your overall well-being without you even being aware of the source of your problem.
It is not uncommon to come across patients who have neglected their oral health and have multiple broken teeth. They usually have developed wide spread gum disease as a result of their inability to properly clean their remaining teeth due to the pain and infection caused by these remaining broken teeth. These individuals are at high risk for losing numerous teeth if the broken teeth are not removed. Removing these broken tooth fragments will get the situation under control so you can maintain the health of your remaining teeth and gums.
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What to do With Broken Teeth: Leaving Them
1. It is usually difficult to remove broken tooth fragments. Broken tooth fragments tend to get trapped underneath the gums and can become soft and fragile over the years. Removing them is more difficult than removing whole teeth as there is not much left to grab onto. Since most general dentists don’t remove a lot of teeth fragments, chances are your dentist will struggle trying to remove these. Your dentist may wisely choose to refer you to an oral surgeon to avoid damaging your jawbone or other vital structures when removing these fragments. You might want to confirm with your dentist that he or she is comfortable doing this surgery or otherwise request a referral to an oral surgeon.
- Sometimes after removing the tooth fragment a sharp piece of bone may be left behind. Don’t panic as this is usually an easy fix. Bone fragments are usually loose and can be removed with a tweezer like instrument without even the need to numb you. If the bone fragment is not loose you may have to go in for a second surgery to dissect and remove it.
- Many times the stitch will loosen up before your check up appointment. Again, don’t panic as this is not a problem. The stitch is only important for the first two to three days and it doesn’t do much after that period. It is perfectly acceptable to remove it by yourself at this point if they are hanging loose. Dark sutures are usually permanent and require your dentist to remove them while the tan colored ones are dissolvable and vanish on their own.
2. If you are planning on placing a dental implant soon. If you’re planning to place a dental implant where the tooth fragment is, you should leave the fragment alone until the time of the surgery. Unless of course it is infected. Retaining a tooth fragment for a few months will actually help preserve the jawbone until it is time to place the implant. As soon as the broken tooth fragment is removed your bone will start shrinking at an accelerated rate and the success rate and results of the dental implant will decrease. Of course this only works for short-term situations. Planning on leaving a tooth fragment behind for a few years until you receive a dental implant is not an advisable option and you are more likely to end up with pain and infection as a result.
3. Sometimes the risk of removing a tooth fragment outweighs its benefits. This typically applies to wisdom teeth fragments left behind in dangerous locations. Sometimes when your dentist or oral surgeon removes the tooth and a small piece breaks off and becomes dislodged deep within your jawbone. If your dentist feels that removing the tooth fragment can cause damage to your vital tissues, such as your nerves or your sinuses, he or she may elect to leave it alone and simply monitor the situation. It is important that this information is clearly explained to you and that you fully comprehend and understand where and why the tooth fragment is left behind.
- Make sure to always remember this information as chances are years later you may go to another dentist and they may become concerned over this fragment, so unless you can recall and explain the situation to them you might be faced with an unnecessary surgery or biopsy!
NEXT >> What to do With Broken Teeth: How to Decide
What to do With Broken Teeth: Removing Them
If you are afraid of going to the dentist then you have probably considered different options to help you relax and cope better during your appointments. Being actually put to sleep, known as deep sedation, can be very expensive and requires a lot of preparation which may not be suitable for most. But you are also too afraid to go through your visit while being fully awake. So using nitrous oxide gas, also referred to as laughing gas, to help you relax and calm down a bit may sound like the perfect compromise between these two options. But does nitrous oxide gas really work? Or are you better off either without it or by being put to actual sleep?
Pros of Using Nitrous Oxide Gas
1. Nitrous oxide is very safe and its effects are easily reversible. The reason using nitrous oxide gas is so popular with dentists is because it is very safe, works very quickly and wears off just as quickly.
- Nitrous oxide is extremely safe and it literally has no risks. In fact it is even safer than the injections you are about to get to numb you up, as even the local anesthetic is riskier.
- Nitrous oxide gas works very quickly and starts to relax you within just a few minutes of inhaling it.
- Similarly, its effect wear off and vanish just minutes after you are done inhaling the gas. Meaning that when you are done with your treatment you are free to leave right away.
2. There are no special instructions or precautions required to use nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide gas works very rapidly and clears your lungs within minutes after you have stopped breathing it. Once the gas has been discontinued you get back to your normal state within minutes. This means you can drive yourself back and forth to your dental visit and can resume normal functions and go about your daily activities immediately afterwards. And there is no additional time off required for using nitrous oxide gas. All other sedation techniques including IV sedation, general anesthesia and per-medication with anti-anxiety pills require someone to transport and escort you to your visit.
3. It can really help you feel relaxed. Nitrous oxide gas can help many fearful patients relax during their dental appointments. The gas is an analgesic that depresses your nervous system to give you a euphoric and relaxed sensation where you might even find yourself laughing out loud, thus the nickname laughing gas. It basically helps take the edge off during your appointment. When under the influence of the gas, you will still be aware of all of your surroundings and you can still respond to your dentist’s commands. This can be beneficial since your dentist can instruct you to open, close or move accordingly to help expedite the treatment. And being awake can also help you gradually concur your fears of going to the dentist given since you are relaxed but still awake and aware of what is going on surrounding you. Many of the newer patients start off using the nitrous oxide gas to get them through there more difficult first few visits and then stop having to rely on it once they’ve concurred their initial fear of going to the dentist.
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Should I Use Nitrous Oxide for Dental Treatment: How to Decide?