Are you feeling erratic pain when chewing, especially when you relax your bite? Do your teeth hurt when exposed to extreme temperatures or sweet foods? Do you have swelling in the gums in only one area of your mouth? These are common symptoms of a fractured tooth.
You should talk to your dentist if these problems persist, but in many cases your dentist may only be the first step in fixing your fractured tooth and alleviating the pain. Start the conversation today; a fractured tooth only costs you more pain and money when it’s ignored.
Why can’t my dentist fix the problem?
Your dentist is the right person to begin the conversation with, but if you need more specific help, you need to find a specialist. Your family doctor won’t perform surgery on you just as your dentist shouldn’t be placing dental implants or fitting crowns.
Prosthodontists have three or four more years of advanced training in the field of dental prosthetics. This means that they’re experts at creating, placing, and fitting crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures, and implants.
So if you’re experiencing tooth pain, you need to find a prosthodontist who will be able to both diagnose the problem and then perform the procedure and fix your fractured tooth.
How will my prosthodontist fix my fractured tooth?
It can often be very difficult to diagnose what tooth is fractured, and the procedures to resolve these fractures require high levels of expertise. A prosthodontist has the experience and tools to diagnose the condition of the tooth and then recommend the best course of action for you.
Many fractured teeth don’t extend into the pulp of the tooth, which is the soft portion inside of the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels. There are many ways that the fracture can develop, and there are many stages in the degeneration of a fractured tooth, which is why talking to an experienced prosthodontist is necessary before taking your next step.
In the cases where it does extend into the pulp of the tooth, your prosthodontist may recommend you to an endodontist to perform a root canal, but if the fracture has caused major deterioration, extraction may be your only choice.
Though it doesn’t hurt to talk to an endodontist first, often they’ll be recommending you to a prosthodontist for a crown, and you could’ve saved the time and money by going straight to your prosthodontist. Many times all that’s needed is a crown.
What is a crown?
Dental crowns, or caps, are placed over damaged teeth to restore their use. Forming and fitting your new crown will typically only take two visits to your prosthodontist and will be a quick and permanent fix for your fractured tooth.
If the fracture has caused structural damage to the root of the tooth, then you may need an implant or bridge instead, but your prosthodontist will be able to help you make the best decision for your specific case.
How do I find a prosthodontist?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should talk to your dentist and begin the process of healing your fractured tooth. Ask them who they would recommend as your prosthodontist, and do your homework to find the one who’s right for you.
The longer you put off the pain, the more likely more complex problems will come up. It doesn’t pay now to pretend like the pain isn’t there, and it definitely won’t pay when you have to write a bigger check later.
At Dr. Stone’s practice, we offer complimentary consultations to new and prospective patients. We think that the information you need to make your oral-health decisions should be free, so we’ll never charge you to come in and talk through your questions. Dr. Stone has been practicing for over thirty years, and would love to help you decide what’s best for you. Schedule your appointment today.
About Dr. John C. Stone, DDS
Dr. Stone teaches dental implant therapy to dentists in two different locations: Atlantic Coast Dental Research Clinic at Palm Beach College and Broward Dental Research Clinic at Broward College. He is a specialist in tooth replacement, a Prosthodontist, and has been placing dental implants surgically since 1991.