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Broken front tooth repair

A

Ann44

Junior member
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Hi

I recently lost half the back of one of my bottom front teeth. So the full width of tooth and about 3 mm down at the back half was missing. I'm 44 and look after my teeth well. I don't know how it happened, I was eating hot soft food (spaghetti meat balls). My guess is that because I was also drinking a very cold (refrigerated drink) with the piping hot meal this cracked/ chipped the tooth somehow and it came away.

Anyway it happened on a Saturday, I made an appointment first thing on Monday. Meanwhile, I was frightened to eat anything and cancelled a social meal I had on the Sunday. I have a local NHS dentist. Luckily they managed to get me an appointment that day at 4.30 pm. I was kept waiting for over half an hour which I didn't mind, but when it was my turn to see the dentist I felt she was trying to rush the appointment as someone was waiting after me, perhaps she didn't want to work late. I asked if she would open a treatment plan and explained I was happy to come back another time for the check up part (it had been 10 months since last visit so it wasn't really due for 2 months anyway) and a clean but that I just wanted the filling done today to protect the tooth.

My worst nightmare came true and she started playing it down, saying it was only a chip and didn't need doing today that I should come back (by the way the next available appointment with her wasn't for 3 weeks). There was no way I could wait a few weeks to have it done. I explained I was scared the rest of the front of the tooth could chip off and then I'd need like a crown or something (a lot more money). She said yes it could chip off but no more likely because I was missing the back and that having the filling would offer no more strength to the tooth. She said all this without having even looked at the tooth. The tooth felt rough, jagged and I was sure more tooth would fall away. Anyway I ended up having a bit of panic attack and getting quite upset, so she reluctantly ended up agreeing to do the tooth. She was quite angry and complained at having to clean the tooth first before she could do the filling. It sounded like she was going to change her mind. I felt it was a bit rushed, the filling at the back feels a bit bulbous, I asked if she could sand it down a bit but she argued it was the same width as my other tooth. I've been sanding it down myself since i've been back. I think its disgusting I have to pay £62 for what is like 15 mins work, a lot of money. I don't feel I get the due care and attention on the work I'm owed and that I had to go through all that stress before she would even agree to fill my tooth.

What I would like is if I could give me an opinion on the following;

- Was she correct in saying that it was not necessary to fill the tooth for a few more weeks, that the front of the tooth was no more likely to chip away with the top back of it missing? I'm not stupid, I have got a degree. Also an A-level in design and technology so I do have knowledge about strength structures and if you half the width of something its going to be less strong under pressure. So I believe I was being fobbed off, but it would be good to have another opinion.

- What can I do if this happens again? I'm a bit worried as my other bottom tooth has chipped away twice at the back. I've worked out I can't ring a private dentist for a one off filling as they require you to be on their books. So in your opinion could I buy some dental cement or something and would this work for a few weeks to help protect the tooth until I could get a proper filling?

- Why does the back of the bottom teeth chip away? I did ask the dentist but she just got angry at me saying she had told me I grind my teeth. She said I must have grinded my teeth or bit on something hard for it to chip off. I said no didn't bit anything hard. I also don't believe I grind my teeth at night and never woken up doing so and I'm a light sleeper (but I will get one of those night braces she wants me to get). I'm thinking its because I get a lot of tartar build up. I do floss and clean away the tartar carefully myself regularly. It had probably been nearly 2 years since I had a professional clean (because my appointment with her last year yet again she didn't have time to clean even just the bottom teeth and I only had a check up with her! ). I can see brown stains at the back of my teeth so perhaps this is what causes the enamel to weaken and fall off?

Hope to hear from you

Regards
Ann
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
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Messages
6,327
1) Possibly, it's hard to tell without seeing it, your description isn't very clear, sorry. Were you having any pain?

2) Sounds like you need to find another dentist, your relationship with this one has clearly broken down. A private dentist will probably do the filling as a one off, for a fee.

3) It's an odd situation, the back of your lower front teeth is pretty much the most decay resistant part of your mouth, any chance of a photo?
 
A

Ann44

Junior member
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Thank you for replying.

I'm not sure that I could have been much more descriptive...."the full width of tooth and about 3 mm down (in height) at the back half was missing"...Its my bottom front left tooth. I wasn't in any pain. I tried taking photos but my camera wouldn't focus that closely. Surely it leaves the front of tooth more vulnerable?

I've already tried ringing private dentists and they say I'd need to be on there books and don't do one offs. That's why I'm thinking of dental cement.

Its a bit worrying you say they are the most decay resistant teeth. I've not heard that, where have you got that information please? This is the third time one of my lower front teeth at the back have chipped off.

Thanks again

Ann
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,183
My husband grinds his teeth at night, and he has broken bits off the back of his bottom front teeth as well as the corners.

I found out this past year that I apparently have clenched my teeth at night for years without knowing it. I have cracked molars now. I am also a very light sleeper. I am more aware of it now, and will wake up doing it. I do wear a night guard now.
 
A

Ann44

Junior member
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Thanks for your reply. Yes I have been told my molars are cracked as well, I thought this was probably from normal eating. I do find when I'm under stress though that those molar teeth hurt more, so perhaps I do clench them unconsciously. As for my front teeth I would have to protrude my bottom jaw forward before clenching and even the dentist had to admit there was no evidence of grinding on my top front teeth. But I guess its possible if you say your husband does this. I wonder how the dentist can tell apart evidence of grinding on the teeth at night as opposed to grinding from normal eating. Anyway I guess they can. I will try and catch myself doing it before I fully wake up. Also I will get a night guard, I think they are not cheap though at like £100.

Thanks again
 
M

MountainMama

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Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,183
Thanks for your reply. Yes I have been told my molars are cracked as well, I thought this was probably from normal eating. I do find when I'm under stress though that those molar teeth hurt more, so perhaps I do clench them unconsciously. As for my front teeth I would have to protrude my bottom jaw forward before clenching and even the dentist had to admit there was no evidence of grinding on my top front teeth. But I guess its possible if you say your husband does this. I wonder how the dentist can tell apart evidence of grinding on the teeth at night as opposed to grinding from normal eating. Anyway I guess they can. I will try and catch myself doing it before I fully wake up. Also I will get a night guard, I think they are not cheap though at like £100.

Thanks again
Can you get an over the counter nightguard fir now? I don't know how it works there, but ones made at the dentist here are pricey as well. My dentist actually suggested I get one from a pharmacy until I get through some of the work I needed done. I bought one for a very reasonable price that the dentist said was quite good for a temporary one. I have used it for 4 months and he even adjusted it for me so that one of my sore teeth was not touching.
 
A

Ann44

Junior member
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Many thanks for the suggestion. I didn't know you could buy them over the counter. I will look into that.
 
Gordon

Gordon

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Sounds like you've chipped off some of the enamel from the back of the tooth, as best as I can guess without seeing you. As you get older and the enamel gets worn, so a thin piece can chip away. Dental enamel is a bit like porcelain, it tends to chip off in flakes rather than wear evenly. The critical thing in terms of the remaining strength of the tooth is how much thickness (front to back) is left, which is why a photo would help.

Giving you an answer to your question about the remaining strength of your tooth is difficult without that information, sorry.

Dental cement is a waste of time, it won't add any strength to the tooth and will probably chip off on chewing. Even with proper dental materials and equipment, replacing enamel in these circumstances is difficult, sometimes the best thing to do is to smooth off the rough area and leave it alone.

Dental school :)

Thank you for replying.

I'm not sure that I could have been much more descriptive...."the full width of tooth and about 3 mm down (in height) at the back half was missing"...Its my bottom front left tooth. I wasn't in any pain. I tried taking photos but my camera wouldn't focus that closely. Surely it leaves the front of tooth more vulnerable?

I've already tried ringing private dentists and they say I'd need to be on there books and don't do one offs. That's why I'm thinking of dental cement.

Its a bit worrying you say they are the most decay resistant teeth. I've not heard that, where have you got that information please? This is the third time one of my lower front teeth at the back have chipped off.

Thanks again

Ann
 
A

Ann44

Junior member
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Thanks. I would say the thickness that broke off was exactly half of the tooth, maybe a little more as if felt like a deep hole inside the tooth. There was quite a thick ridge where it had broken, into the tooth nearly half way down. That's why i wanted it filled asap as I'm sure the front would have chipped away soon. I think the chipped area was too low to round off. I would have been left with half the height of a tooth which wouldn't have looked very attractive.

Thanks for the information about the dental cement. I think my plan is to get a dental brace in case I am grinding, also look at strengthening the enamel if that's possible maybe with a special toothpaste? Also getting them cleaned more regularly and ringing around all the private dentists to see if any will do spot fillings as I never want to be put in that situation again. Also look at changing my NHS dentist if possible :D.

Thank you
 
C

comfortdentist

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Miami, Fl
Sounds like a vertical shear of enamel. Not an unusual event and a relatively straight forward bonding should work well. I will add that the overhead of a properly equipped dental office is very high as in hundreds of dollars per hour here at least.
 
A

Ann44

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Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Thanks. We have the NHS dentists here, I expect they are funded some what by the NHS. So prices are supposed to be cheaper, but not by that much. But yes I can see all the equipment, materials and x-ray machines etc would be expensive.
I don't actually mind paying the price but I do expect to be treated fairly in return. I get nervous enough at the dentist as it is, and its just made 10 times worst by a dentist who doesn't agree to protect your teeth when you feel it is necessary. I mean she hadn't even looked at the tooth before voicing her opinion! So many dentists have different opinions on what to do, which makes the whole process of visiting the dentist so stressful, not because of having someone in my mouth without them telling me what they are doing (although that is very stressful) but more because its just pot luck if they agree to help in the way I believe is best (I always do a lot of research first). If she hadn't bonded my tooth i'm sure it would have broken off at the front, then what. A crown at £500! It wouldn't be her having to pay an extra £440. At the end of the day you are paying for a service so I think dentists should do as the patient wants within reason. Dentists should calmly give their opinion but be aware it is just their opinion and many other dentists may have a different view point, ultimately it should be what the patient feels is right for them and their teeth. The research I did online on the subject said to get to your dentist asap to fill the tooth to help protect it. I did not expect to be told to wait another 3 weeks (just because she didn't want to spend 10 - 15 mins doing the job, as it is i'm going back another time for the check up part). Doctors in the UK have to sign something saying they will do not harm to the patient. I wonder if dentists have the same thing to sign.

Thanks
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

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Mar 7, 2018
Messages
604
Sorry to hear you have had such a bad experience. It sounds like you don’t trust your dentist, is there another surgery you could switch to? I am lucky to have an excellent NHS dentist, but I do believe one of the things you pay for by having private treatment is time, which can be in short supply in an over-stretched NHS surgery.

Re night guards, I have one from my dentist as I am a clenched, but my colleague has one from Boots (in the section by the tepe brushes) which works well for him. I think it was about £25.
 
A

Ann44

Junior member
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Bristol
Thank you. Yes I will look at other NHS surgeries near to me to see if I can switch.

Thanks for the info on Boots. I will have a look at them, seems a good price.
 
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