Categories

Your teeth are the foundation of a beautiful smile; and straight, white teeth is one feature that people find attractive. Your teeth are also one of your body’s critical organs, since they support healthy digestion, strong bones and produce red blood cells. That’s why you should care for your pearly whites by visiting your dentist in Lutz, FL regularly for an oral checkup and a professional cleaning.

While you can prevent most oral problems from developing in the first place by making good dental habits part of your routine — brushing twice a day, flossing daily, for example — a cracked tooth is no laughing matter. Thankfully, not all cracked teeth require emergency dental care, and they can often be repaired.

What is a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth is any tooth with a crack or fracture. It is fairly common for a tooth to crack, particularly if you have a habit of gnawing on ice or crunching on hard candy. You may not even notice the crack at first, although it will likely become more uncomfortable as time progresses

Many factors can cause tooth cracks, including trauma, chewing on things you shouldn’t nibble on, grinding your teeth at night and even biting down on food at the wrong angle. Watch out for pistachios!

The enamel on your teeth is strong, but it isn’t indestructible. If you subject the teeth to overly hard foods or grind them together while sleeping, the enamel can crack. Once a crack forms in a tooth, it becomes vulnerable to bacteria and debris that work their way into the space between the teeth and the gums.

The substances bacteria produce can cause infections and weaken the tooth. In some cases, an untreated tooth crack can progress to a painful gum abscess if the crack extends deep into the pulp of the tooth where the blood vessels and nerves are.

If this occurs, you may need root canal therapy to restore the tooth and clear the abscess. If the crack extends below the gumline, a dentist will likely recommend tooth extraction, as saving the tooth is no longer possible.

What Are the Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth?

It’s possible to have a cracked tooth and have few or no symptoms at first; however, over time, the crack can enlarge large enough to be painful. As the crack extends, you may experience discomfort when you chew a certain way or pain may come on spontaneously.

If you feel pain when you take a sip of hot coffee or bite into something hard, like an apple, you might have a cracked tooth. Other common signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth include;

• Temperature sensitivity when consuming hot or cold foods or beverages

• Tooth sensitivity when consuming sugary foods

• Intermittent tooth pain, especially when chewing

• Swelling at the base of the tooth

Because cracks are not always visible to the naked eye, your dentist typically uses an x-ray machine to determine whether a crack has occurred. The goal is to cap the tooth to support it, so the crack doesn’t extend further or deeper. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent a painful abscess.

Can a Cracked Tooth Heal Itself?

You might wonder whether a cracked tooth needs treatment or whether it will heal on its own? The short answer to the latter is no. Cracked teeth cannot heal themselves, but they often can be saved with modern dentistry. The key is to see a dentist who can identify the cracked tooth and treat it before it progresses.

Placing a dental crown over a cracked tooth is a straightforward procedure that helps protect and support the damaged tooth. Dental crowns are also used to restore teeth broken, cracked, or damaged by decay. A crown covers the entire tooth restoration, making it strong and giving it the shape and contour of a natural tooth. No one will know it’s not a natural tooth when you smile since the crown is color coordinated to match your natural teeth. Best of all, you can chew again without pain.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to seek immediate treatment from a dentist if you suspect damage to your tooth or teeth. Treatments can vary depending on the extent of the crack and how deep it goes. But no matter what, the sooner you receive treatment, the better off you’ll be.

References:

“Cracked Teeth – American Association of Endodontists.” aae.org/patients/dental-symptoms/cracked-teeth/.

LUBISICH EB, HILTON TJ, FERRACANE J. Cracked Teeth: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry. 2010;22(3):158-167. doi:10.1111/j.1708-8240.2010.00330.x