A cracked or fractured tooth can happen from eating hard foods, grinding your teeth at night, wearing large fillings that weaken the integrity of the tooth, sudden changes of temperature in the mouth, blows and injuries to the mouth, or simply growing older (over 50). Aging is the leading cause of tooth loss.
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There are different types of fractures in teeth. A cracked tooth may have only super-small cracks in the enamel that do not hurt and don’t need emergency treatment. A fractured cusp happens around a dental filling, but doesn’t usually affect the soft center of the tooth (pulp) and doesn’t cause much pain. Even though these fractures are not serious, they still need to be examined by our dentist before they become big problems.
There are also fractures that need immediate dental care. Sometimes a tooth has a crack that goes through the length of the tooth, but has not made it to the gum line yet. This tooth can survive, but needs quick treatment by our experienced dentist.
A tooth that is split has a crack that starts at the top and goes all the way down below the gum line. This tooth is actually split into two pieces. While it’s unlikely the entire tooth can be saved, our dentist may be able to save some of it, if you get help in time.
A vertical root fracture is when a crack begins below the gum line and goes upwards through the tooth. This crack may not cause a lot of pain in the beginning, but could get infected and cause serious problems in the future.
Here are some of the symptoms you may experience if you have a cracked tooth: pain when chewing, sensitivity to temperature (heat, cold) or sweetness, and swelling of the gum near the tooth.
Our dentist can diagnose a cracked tooth by taking X-rays, using a magnifying lens to see tiny cracks, probing the tooth with a dental explorer to see if it “catches” on the edge of a crack, and using dental dye to find cracks. Our dentist may also check your gums for inflammation to find vertical cracks. Our dentist could ask you to bite down on something to see if you feel pain when releasing your bite.
Dental treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the size of the crack, location and symptoms.
Our dentist may use composite resin to fill a tooth crack. Another option is to place a dental crown on top of a damaged tooth. A root canal is needed if the tooth crack reaches the pulp. If the structure of the tooth (nerves and roots) is very damaged, the tooth may have to be extracted (removed).
If you have suffered a cracked tooth, or another type of dental injury, please call our office at 702-935-6696 to schedule an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you come in, the better chance we have of saving your tooth. Don’t delay. Tooth cracks will not heal by themselves. You don’t want to deal with infections. Call us today!