Cracked Teeth are no Laughing Matter
Let’s say you noticed a small crack in a tooth when you were flossing. There’s been no pain. It must be harmless, right?
If you are lucky, the crack is superficial and only affects the enamel. If you are unlucky, the crack permeates the dentin and may even reach the pulp. Because of the risk of infection, ignoring a cracked tooth is not an option. Prompt treatment is important regardless of the severity of the tooth fracture.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Obviously, when a large piece of tooth breaks off or cracks, you head to the dentist ASAP. People tend to hesitate when it is a small, seemingly harmless, crack. Even if the crack is superficial, it creates a weak point in your tooth that makes it more susceptible to infection and decay. Fractures can cause discoloration and affect the aesthetics of your smile.
Serious fractures usually cause pain since the nerves end up exposed. Hot and cold sensitivity may be one of the first symptoms of a crack. Left unchecked, fractures tend to grow. This puts you at risk of serious infection and tooth loss. As is the case with many dental injuries, catching a crack early can prevent more serious damage later.
Discovery and Repair of Cracked Teeth
Pain is often the first indicator a tooth fracture exists, but not all fractures cause pain. So, how will you know if you crack a tooth? During your regular dental cleanings and exams, your dentist may discover a crack. Dental x-rays help determine the exact location and the seriousness of the crack.
Dental bonding takes care of most small or superficial cracks. Tooth-colored composite fillings can also stop a small fracture from growing. At Weninger Dentistry, we aim to treat cracks before they cause bigger problems. For superficial cracks, porcelain veneers can restore teeth to their former glory. Cosmetic crowns can often stabilize more serious cracks when the pulp has remained unscathed.
Once a tooth becomes unstable, treatment options change. If the dentist feels repair is possible, the loose tooth can be stabilized with a splint, which involves bonding the affected tooth to healthy adjacent teeth. This allows the gums and bone to heal. At this point, Dr. Weninger will determine if a filling or crown will sufficiently repair the tooth. If the pulp is damaged or infected, but the main structure of the tooth is salvageable, a root canal may be an option. Unfortunately, serious cracks may lead to tooth extraction.
Whether you know right when your tooth cracked, or you discovered it during a routine exam, Drs. Michelle and Scott Weninger encourage you to seek treatment sooner, rather than later. Don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule an appointment. No crack or chip is too small!