What Can Be Done About a Cracked Tooth?

What Can Be Done About a Cracked Tooth?

What Can Be Done About a Cracked Tooth?

Millions of Americans every year experience the symptoms of cracked teeth. You, like many others, might have a cracked tooth and not even know it. Common symptoms of cracked teeth include:

One of the reasons a cracked tooth might come as a surprise is that you don’t always feel or notice when a tooth cracks. Some cracked teeth are due to acute injuries to the mouth and teeth, while other cracked teeth are due to lifestyle and behavior choices. The American Dental Association attributes teeth cracking to:

It might be difficult to tell when you have a cracked tooth and which tooth it is. Seeing a dentist when you experience any of the symptoms of cracked teeth is essential. While you are waiting for your dentist appointment, it’s important to keep hot and cold liquids away from the pain site and to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the pain is coming from.

Cracked teeth aren’t always visible on X-rays, so your dentist may employ several techniques to help find the cracked tooth, and the type of tooth crack you have will determine what treatment options your dentist recommends.

Types of Cracks

Craze lines are small cracks in the enamel, your tooth’s most outer layer, that are mostly superficial and can be polished out by your dentist. These are minor hairline fractures to your tooth and your dentist might not recommend further treatment.

Cracks that extend into the gum line are more serious, and could potentially result in tooth extraction. These are typically vertical cracks through the tooth. The sooner you can get to the dentist, the more chances there are of saving the tooth.

A split tooth is exactly as it sounds – a crack that extends through the gum line, effectively splitting the tooth into two pieces. It’s unlikely that both pieces could be saved, but your dentist may be able to save a portion of one of the segments.

A vertical root fracture is a crack that starts at the gum line and travels upward. This type of crack can get infected, at which point you’ll experience some tell-tale symptoms. Your chances of having to have this type of crack extracted are high.

Treatment Options

Regular dental appointments are key to diagnosing cracked teeth early to minimize the cost and severity of treatment. For common minor, tiny cracks dentists likely will not do any repairs. Depending on the size and location of your cracked tooth, however, your treatment options could range from bonding to root canal to extraction. Aside from the very minor cracks, cracked teeth will not heal on their own, and putting off treatment could result in worsening cracks.

Bonding is a common procedure using plastic resin to fill cracks. This method is common, quick, and usually restores teeth to their proper look and function.

A crown is a device made of either porcelain or ceramic that is placed over the cracked tooth to cap it. The process of putting a crown on might take a few weeks as your dentist might have to prepare your tooth by shaving down some of the enamel. Additionally, he might have to take color samples to match your tooth or send impressions off to a lab. Some dentists are able to fit, produce and apply crowns on the same day. Crowns should last a lifetime with the proper care.

Root canals are treatment options when a crack is so extensive that it results in damaged tissue. Root canals remove and repair damaged tissue to prevent further infection and deterioration.

As previously mentioned, some cracks are so severe that the only option is to remove the affected tooth through the extraction process, but you should always consult with a dental professional regarding the best option for you.