Fix Cracked Teeth
A variety of different reasons can cause a tooth to crack, and it typically happens when it is quite inconvenient. Fortunately, dentists are specially trained to quickly repair a broken tooth.
When patients clench their jaw, grind the teeth and chew on hard objects such as nuts, candy or ice, it can damage the enamel of the tooth and result in small cracks in the teeth. Inside the tooth is the pulp which contains blood vessels and sensitive nerves. When a tooth is cracked, it can result in substantial pain. A common sign of a cracked tooth is sharp and sudden pain when eating or drinking. The pain can be exaggerated when the food or beverage is particularly hot or cold. In some cases, patients are not aware that their tooth is cracked.
While most patients who have a cracked tooth notice some discomfort or sensitivity when eating, in more severe cases, the tooth consistently hurts. This discomfort can be especially painful when the tooth is loose or the crack is close to the gums. There are various types of cracked teeth, in addition to numerous treatment options which are available. When the crack is relatively minor, the treatment may involve a simple repair with a crown. With more serious cracks, treatment may require the tooth to be removed.
Cracked teeth actually differ from chipped teeth. Dental professionals can identify a chipped tooth with a dental tool called an “explorer”. This tool is used during routine exams. In some cases, patients may identify a chip when feeling a rough spot on the tooth. When the chip is not detectable using the explorer tool, the damage is most likely superficial and treatment is not necessary.
It is important to contact the dentist right away when you experience a cracked tooth. Repairing a broken tooth should not be delayed. Prompt treatment is critical in preserving the tooth. Waiting to repair a cracked tooth can increase your risk of infecting the pulp and possibly losing the tooth. Infection spreads easily to the gum and bone below the cracked tooth. If it is not possible to visit the dentist right away, it is especially important for patients to continue practicing good oral hygiene. Be extra cautious and gentle with brushing and flossing to avoid any additional damage.
Once the dentist is able to evaluate the cracked tooth, they can review your treatment options. The treatment method for a cracked tooth will vary based on the severity of the crack. If the chip is relatively minor, the dentist can typically able a filling or bonding to restore the damaged tooth. In cases where only a small piece is cracked off, the tooth can usually be salvaged. The dentist may also opt to place a crown over the cracked tooth, in order to protect the remaining healthy tooth. In cases where a portion of the tooth is fractured, endodontic surgery may be required. In more severe cases, the crack may reach the pulp of the tooth. Once the pulp has been damaged, a root canal or tooth extraction may be required.
When patients experience a cracked tooth and act quickly, it can impact the available treatment options and ability to preserve the tooth. Contact your dentist right away after cracking a tooth to ensure you have the best possible outcome.