What You Need to Do If You Crack a Tooth

Posted on: March 2, 2018

ToothAfter cracking a tooth, you are likely wondering what the cause is and how you can treat it.  Stay calm, collect yourself, pick up the phone and call the dentist. An oral health professional will analyze the cracked tooth to determine if it is indeed cracked and what repair options are available.

Broken tooth

Crack Types

There are different types of cracked teeth.  Examples include vertical fractures, craze lines, fractured cusps and split teeth.  Each type of crack has the potential to occur in the posterior teeth.  Unfortunately, cracks in teeth do not heal like bone fractures do.

The dentist will distinguish which type of crack has occurred and settle on the appropriate procedure/treatment.  The particular treatment for your cracked tooth hinges on its location, type, direction and size.

Why Teeth Break

Munching on hard foods, clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth can lead to cracking.  In some cases, the enamel is damaged prior to the crack.  However, cracks also have the potential to form in a sudden manner, especially if chewing on ice, a pen cap or a hard piece of food.

If a tooth cracks, there will likely be some pain as the pulp within the tooth has blood vessels and nerves that will prove sensitive.  In general, the main sign of a cracked tooth is a sudden onset of pain as you chew.  However, it is also possible to have a cracked tooth and not even know it until the dentist points it out or the tooth breaks.

What to do if Your Tooth Cracks

Reach out to your dentist right away to inform him or her your tooth has cracked.  Do not delay this phone call.  The longer you wait, the higher the risk for an infection in the pulp of the tooth. This infection can easily move to the gums and the bone beneath the tooth.

If you cannot visit the dentist right away, follow your regular oral hygiene routine.  Just be sure to brush in a gentle manner with a toothbrush that can adequately clean between the teeth.

Repairing a Cracked Tooth

Let the dentist take a look at the tooth in question.  If it is indeed broke, he or she will do everything possible to save it.  The treatment for a cracked tooth hinges on the extent of the fracture.  If a small portion of the filling or enamel has chipped, all that might be necessary is the addition of a new filling or bonding material.

If a small piece broke away from the tooth, it might be possible to salvage it. The dentist will place a crown over the rest of the tooth for protection. It might be necessary to perform endodontic surgery to remove the fractured section. In other cases, the crack moves on down to the pulp and a root canal or extraction might be necessary.

How can you really use this information?

Request an appointment in our Seattle dental office here: http://www.guyrobertsdds.com. Call us at (206) 324-9877 for more information from Dr. Guy F. Roberts, DDS, PLLC.


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