A cracked, chipped or broken tooth can be very painful or sensitive and you know you have to get to the dentist to have the tooth repaired as soon as possible. However you might have a tooth break and have no sensitivity at all. Don’t ignore it.

Regardless of the discomfort, your dentist should restore any chipped, cracked or broken tooth as quickly as possible.

A damaged tooth promotes decay. Over time, the tooth can become diseased beyond repair. Even the slightest cracks can become discolored, detracting from the natural appearance of your smile.

The best course of action is to get to your dentist to have your tooth fixed. There are a variety of treatment options available to restore chipped, broken teeth. A porcelain veneer or dental bonding may be recommended to return the tooth to health. If the break is very big and the tooth is weak, a dental crown may be recommended to restore the tooth to strength. If the tooth is severely damaged, a root canal may be required to save the tooth and protect your health. A crown will be placed on the tooth following the procedure. Porcelain crowns will last between 10 and 30 years.

Some people do not want diagnostic x-rays because they have heard that the radiation is dangerous. They’re afraid of being “overexposed” to radiation. The fact is, dental x-rays pose very little danger and are the most valuable diagnostic tool we have.

Let’s break it down. The unit used to measure radiation exposure to biologic organism is called a rem. A rem is a large unit, so exposure to medical radiation is generally measured in millirems (mREM). The average dental x-ray delivers about 1 mREM per exposure. If you have a full mouth series done, that equals 18 mREM of exposure. In comparison, the average person in the US is exposed to about 360 mREM per year just from naturally occurring background sources. The reality is that it is very safe to have x-rays taken once a year.

The risk of NOT having x-rays taken far outweighs any “risk” of exposure to radiation. X-rays detect problems before they can be seen by the naked eye or even felt by the patient. Cavities. Infections. Cracks in teeth or restorations. If left undetected, all of these problems can lead to a costly restorative procedure or root canal therapy. The x-rays detect problems while they are small and easy to fix, resulting in dental treatment that is less expensive, more conservative and more successful in the long run.

Why wait until something hurts to have it treated? With diagnostic x-rays even the smallest problem can be quickly, comfortably and affordably taken care of.

Since when can a dentist looking in your mouth identify risks for a heart attack? Since the American Academy of Periodontology released research linking gum disease to heart attacks.

But a heart attack isn’t the only risk factor associated with gum disease. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 90% of systemic diseases have oral manifestations.

Recent research has also linked gum disease to an increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Some cancers, including pancreatic cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Complications in controlling blood sugar levels in diabetes
  • Pre-term birth
  • Low birth-weight babies
  • And other serious health conditions.

A Common Disease

Chances are, you’re at risk. Gum disease is one of the most common infections – often more prevalent than the common cold. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), four of every five Americans suffer from some form of gum disease.

With a simple exam, a dentist with experience in periodontal health, like Dr. Glenn Fortner, can diagnose periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, a periodontal exam should be part of your regular check-ups and cleaning appointments.


Dr. Fortner can diagnose gum disease quickly and comfortably, but you might be aware of problems before you step foot into the dentist’s office. Common symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when you brush or floss; pus between the teeth, bad breath, or swollen, red gums. But sometimes, there aren’t any signs of the disease at all.

Treatment Options

But there is good news. With advanced techniques and technologies, gum disease is treatable – even reversible. Dr. Fortner utilizes a state-of-the-art ultrasonic scaler that uses oscillating sound waves to gently vibrate the tartar away from your teeth above and below the gum line. It’s so gentle that it can even be used to administer deep cleaning and gum therapy, many times without the need for anesthetic.