Cracked tooth? The pain can be unbearable at times. But luckily there are effective ways to fix cracked teeth. Long ago, your only option would’ve probably been to have the tooth extracted (without anesthetics because they didn’t exist yet), these days visiting your dentist with a cracked tooth should help you get rid of the pain without much discomfort.
How to Treat a Cracked Tooth
Once your tooth is broken, it can’t heal itself – it will remain broken, and even worsen, until you have it fixed. What this means for you and your cracked tooth is that you should go see your dentist to have the tooth fixed as soon as possible, especially if you’re experiencing a lot of pain.
In the meantime, while waiting for your appointment, you can relieve your tooth pain with over-the-counter painkillers and cold packs applied to your cheek in the area where it hurts. You can also use sugarless gum to cover sharp edges on your tooth. Never try to buff sharp edges down, try to preserve the tooth it its original state as much as possible. Also take special care not to bite on your cracked tooth, as this can cause the crack to spread.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome
If you’re experiencing inexplicable pain in a tooth that comes and goes, you might be suffering from cracked tooth syndrome. Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when the crack in your tooth is so small you can’t see it. Tiny cracks can cause a surprising amount of pain, and so your dentist will have to perform special tests to even find the culprit.
Cracked Tooth Dental Treatment
Once you visit your dentist, there are a few different ways he or she might treat the problem. Treatment will differ depending on whether the cracked tooth is a front tooth or molar, and on the kind of crack you have.
For front teeth, dentists will often use dental bonding to fill areas of the tooth you lost. The materials dentists use for dental bonding will match the color of your tooth, so it won’t be visible. However, it might stain and will likely need to be redone every few years.
Depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist might also recommend you have your front tooth capped instead. Caps last longer than bonding, but dentists will often turn to bonding first because it preserves your tooth’s natural tissue and it’s cheaper than getting a cap.
For molars, the best option is usually getting a tooth cap (although your dentist might be able to fix the tooth with dental inlays and onlays in some cases). The tooth cap helps to keep the two halves of a cracked tooth together, and in cases when a cusp broke off, the cap helps to fill the area to make your tooth usable again.
Unfortunately there are some cases when dentists can’t save a cracked tooth. Whenever the crack extends below your gum line into the tooth root, the tooth can’t be saved. Leaving a tooth that’s been cracked in this way could lead to infections and unwanted complications. While losing a tooth might seem bad, the fact remains that your overall health is more important than just one tooth.
Sometimes molars have cracks that begin below the gum line on the bottom tip of the root. You won’t be able to see if your tooth has cracked this way initially, but this kind of crack often leads to infections. The good news is that in these cases a tooth can often still be saved by removing the affected root area through endodontic surgery rather than extracting the whole tooth.
Replacing a Lost Tooth
If you get the bad news that your tooth is beyond repair, there’s still some good news for you. There are plenty of great ways to replace missing teeth these days. Two of the most popular choices include dental bridges and dental implants.
If your bone health is in good shape, you should be able to get a dental implant without requiring any bone grafts, as there will still be enough bone tissue in your jaw to support the implant.
As time goes by with a missing tooth, the bone tissue in the area of your jaw where your tooth root would’ve normally been starts to deteriorate, meaning you’re more likely to need bone grafting if you wait till later before getting an implant.
If you have a cracked tooth that needs to be fixed, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Stone. Dr. Stone regularly sees patients with dental emergencies and specializes in helping patients with dental implants, bridges, crowns and inlays and onlays.