Why is a cracked tooth a problem?
Cracked or chipped teeth can cause pain and lead to further deterioration of your tooth structure. The damage can expose your interior tooth to bacteria, leading to infection and the need for a root canal. Obviously, cracked teeth can also simply look cosmetically unattractive or upsetting.
How do I know if my tooth is cracked?
Tooth pain is often caused by a crack. If your tooth hurts when you’re eating or drinking, if you have a pain that comes and goes, or if it hurts when you bite down, you may have a cracked tooth. You may not be able to tell exactly which tooth hurts.
Often you feel no pain and only learn your tooth is cracked when you visit your ImmediaDent dentist.
While your ImmediaDent dentist can usually identify a cracked tooth, cracks sometimes are so fine or in a position that they cannot be seen. But more often than not, your ImmediaDent dentist can appropriately diagnose a cracked tooth.
What are treatment options for a cracked or chipped tooth?
The best option depends on several factors, including the location, size, and symptoms of the crack. A tiny crack may pose no risk and require no treatment.
Your dentist may apply composite filling material (“tooth colored” filling material) to repair your cracked or chipped tooth. Composite fillings can last up to ten years with good oral hygiene.
A veneer is a cover that is bonded to the front of a tooth, hiding a crack or chip. If your tooth structure is otherwise strong, a veneer can be a good option and can last decades with good oral hygiene.
A crown may be a good option when you have continued and very uncomfortable pain when chewing or drinking, or as a way to enclose the tooth to prevent it from cracking more, which could result in you losing it. A crown is made of extremely strong material that covers the entire tooth, shielding a crack and holding the tooth firmly together. It can also improve your appearance by covering a chip.
Root canal treatment
If the crack has extended into the pulp of your tooth and is causing you pain, you most likely will need endodontic treatment to remove the infected and decaying pulp and the nerve of the tooth. A crown will be placed after the root canal to enclose the tooth and prevent the crack from spreading.
Extraction may be the best option if the tooth is badly cracked or chipped, the crack extends below the gum line, or the tooth cannot be saved because there is too little tooth left to restore. After extractions, we usually recommend replacing the missing tooth with a bridge or implant-supported crown.
If I think my tooth is cracked, how soon do I need to see my dentist?
If your know or suspect you have a cracked tooth, it’s best to have your tooth examined right away to avoid further deterioration or damage to the tooth, to avoid or reduce infection and to possibly prevent losing the tooth.