A cracked tooth is no fun to deal with! Depending on how your tooth cracked, there might be sharp edges that can cut your tongue and the inside of your mouth. Whenever your tooth cracks, it’s best to get dental treatment within the first few days. Early treatment prevents the crack from spreading further and can save your tooth in many cases.
Cracked Tooth: Causes and Prevention
There are many reasons why your tooth could’ve cracked. But most of the time, it’s when you bite on something hard, like sugar candies, toffees or ice.
Most dentists would agree that you should never chew your ice cubes after finishing a drink, while you might enjoy it, this is often what caused patient’s’ teeth to crack. If you can’t resist chewing regular ice cubes (or if your children have the habit of eating ice), consider getting reusable ice cubes. Most are made of a plastic shell with some water inside, and obviously, they can’t be chewed.
Other harmful behaviors to avoid is clenching or grinding your teeth. Many people grind their teeth habitually, while others grind their teeth at night without even noticing. Not everyone who grinds their teeth while they sleep are aware that they do this. In fact, most people aren’t. But much as with snoring, you’ll know that you do this if you ever share a room with someone, as the noise can be pretty distracting.
Nocturnal (or sleep) bruxism (which is the medical term that describes teeth grinding in one’s sleep), can usually be treated with a special mouth guard patients can wear while they sleep. Because people who suffer from nocturnal bruxism barely ever know they’re doing it, there isn’t a way to control the behavior. But stress, anxiety and smoking have been linked to the condition, as well as drinking too much alcohol or caffeine.
Cracked Tooth Home Treatment
As with any toothache, the best home treatment for a cracked tooth is to use acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen for temporary pain relief while you’re waiting to see your dentist. You can also cover any sharp edges with something like sugarless gum.
Whenever you see a crack in your tooth, you should avoid biting on it, as pressure can cause the crack to spread. Chew foods on the side of your mouth away from the cracked tooth and (just to be safe) avoid eating hard foods. The pressure with which you bite down when you chew hard foods might cause you to accidentally bite on your cracked tooth too hard. Not only can that be painful, it can damage your tooth.
While waiting for proper dental treatment, it’s also best to avoid sugary foods that are harmful to your teeth, as well as coffee and carbonated drinks. Aim to keep your mouth as free of plaque as possible by sticking to things that don’t contain sugar and brushing twice daily. To clean your cracked tooth, using a homemade or commercial mouthwash will be best. You can make mouthwash at home by simply diluting salt into water. This fights off harmful bacteria, which can prevent an infection from developing in your cracked tooth.
Lastly, remember that you won’t always be able to see a crack in your tooth. Sometimes there are tiny cracks that go through the enamel of your tooth. These tiny cracks cause pain and discomfort, but they’re difficult to spot. You certainly won’t be able to see them with the naked eye, and even your dentist will have to use special techniques to find them.
This condition – where your tooth has a tiny crack causing seemingly inexplicable pain – is called cracked tooth syndrome. You can suffer from this kind of tooth pain for months without knowing what’s causing the pain, so acquainting yourself with the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome can help you identify the cause of your tooth pain when the sore tooth seems to be okay. Cracked tooth syndrome can cause pain that comes and goes at times, so don’t assume your tooth is better when you haven’t felt pain in a while.
Fixing a Cracked Tooth
You’ll have to see your dentist to fix your cracked tooth. Cracked teeth are fixed by crowning them, or replacing them, and occasionally with other methods like dental bonding or fillings. Getting treatment for your cracked tooth is the best thing you can do to ensure long-term dental health. Leaving your tooth untreated is extremely likely to lead to further damage and even an infection. These issues will cause tremendous pain, so take be sure to take proper care of yourself by getting the treatment you need as soon as possible.