You bite down hard on something, or you get hit in the face while playing sports, and you notice that one of your teeth has a crack in it. Now what? First, don’t panic. Here, you will find everything you need to know when you have a cracked tooth until you can get care from us at Innovative Endodontics. Read below about what to do if you have a cracked tooth.
In some cases, you will know when you crack a tooth because it happens from a specific incident. However, for some people, a cracked tooth happens from long-term stress on the tooth. This pressure may happen from nightly teeth grinding or quick changes in temperature in your mouth. Making a quick assessment of your mouth when you floss daily can help you to identify if you have a cracked tooth before it begins to show symptoms.
Not everyone will have symptoms of a cracked tooth. Some cracks cause no pain. However, if you don’t get treatment for a cracked tooth, you may get bacteria into the crack, infecting the tooth pulp. If this happens, you may develop:
Even if you cannot see a crack in your tooth, you should still make an appointment with your dentist if you have any of these symptoms. Your dentist may need to do x-rays to diagnose your tooth.
If you have pain when biting down, contact your endodontist for an appointment. To ease the pain in the meantime, we recommend avoiding using that tooth to chew and take ibuprofen to help ease the pain. Never put aspirin or topical pain medication directly on a cracked tooth.
There are several locations that a tooth can crack. The extent of the crack and its location determine the type. If you can identify the type, you may have a better chance of saving some cracked teeth without the risk of needing extraction.
If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, there are some things that you do not want to do. First, do not put off getting treatment. While you don’t need to seek emergency dental care in most cases, you should still get an appointment as soon as possible. The longer you have a cracked tooth, the greater the chance you will have of bacteria entering the crack and causing an infection.
Infection in your tooth can lead to a dental abscess. This complication of a cracked tooth can cause the following serious symptoms, indicating that you need dental care as soon as possible:
If your tooth becomes infected, you may need treatment for the infection first before your dentist or endodontist can restore the cracked tooth.
For many cracked teeth, the goal of endodontic treatment is to prevent infection or remove the infected matter from the tooth’s interior. For cracks that affect the pulp, an endodontist will need to perform a root canal treatment. This procedure cleans out bacteria and pulp that became infected. After the root canal, you will need a crown over the tooth, which your dentist can place.
For minor chips, your dentist may use bonding to reattach the missing piece or to attach a piece of tooth-colored filling or a crown.
Split teeth or those with vertical cracks may need endodontic surgery to preserve some of the teeth. However, if the endodontist determines that the tooth has too much damage or the crack goes from the biting surface below the gum line, you will need an extraction.
You don’t have to go through the pain of a cracked tooth in the future if you take some measures to prevent it. Do the following to lessen your chances of cracking one of your teeth and needing a root canal or extraction:
While our guide can help you with what to do if you have a cracked tooth, feel free to contact us if you still have questions. If you live in Moncks Corner, SC, or the surrounding areas we can help you if you need to make an appointment to receive care for a cracked tooth. When you visit us at Innovative Endodontics, you will get the best treatment possible to try to save your tooth.