Broken teeth are teeth that are chipped and/or cracked. The breakage may cause severe dental sensitivity, mild discomfort and sometimes no pain at all.
Dental decay, through the unwanted actions of oral bacteria, results in softening of the enamel and dentine over time. This can undermine the structural integrity of a tooth, causing the tooth surface to breakdown during everyday function. Previously restored or filled teeth may also break due to decay developing underneath the existing fillings, causing the old fillings to fail.
Teeth can chip or crack if they are suddenly overloaded with pressure, such as when accidentally knocked against a hard object (biting a metal spoon or an olive pit), trying to open a beer bottle, during a motor vehicle accident, falling down from the monkey bars, knocking your face against the pool fence, or tripping when facing down.
Teeth can also crack or split if subjected to chronic overloading, such as clenching and grinding at night (this is also known as dental para-functioning or bruxism).