The enamel that covers your teeth is considered the strongest tissue in your body, making your teeth very durable. But that doesn’t mean that your teeth can’t still break, crack or chip.
Although very rare, your teeth can become damaged in such ways as a result of the following:
- Biting into/onto something hard
- Getting hit in the face or mouth
- Taking a fall
- Tooth decay or cavities that weaken the tooth
- Large, old amalgam filling that doesn’t support the remaining enamel of the tooth
Unless a large enough piece of your tooth breaks, it likely won’t result in pain. However, if a large enough piece of your tooth does happen to break off, causing nerve damage inside of the tooth, it will result in pain. This is usually accompanied with tooth sensitivity, which is more noticeable when you drink or eat hot or cold foods or beverages.
When a tooth breaks or cracks, the pain, if any, often comes and goes. Many people have reported feeling pain when they chew; this is because chewing applies pressure to the damaged tooth.
What YOU Can Do About It
There’s nothing you can do to treat a cracked tooth from home, which is why it’s important to visit your dentist after discovering the damage. Sometimes your tooth may look fine, and only hurts when you eat or when the temperature in your mouth changes from drinking or eating something hot or cold. A serious warning sign that your nerves or blood vessels have been damaged is when your tooth is constantly hurting. You’ll know your tooth is cracked if it doesn’t hurt when you bite down, but is in pain when you release your bite.
Now if you have a broken tooth, it’s important that you see your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to identify the cause of the break, and whether its caused damage to the tooth’s nerves. If the nerve is damaged, the tooth will usually require a root canal. While you can’t technically treat a broken tooth, there are some things you can do until you are able to visit your dentist:
- Rinse your mouth out really well with warm water.
- If there’s any bleeding, apply gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. If that doesn’t work, use a tea bag and apply pressure to the affected area to stop the bleeding.
- To help reduce swelling and pain, apply a cold ice pack to your cheek or lips over the broken tooth.
- If you’re unable to see you dentist immediately, cover the broken tooth with a temporary dental cement. You can find temporary dental cement in a drugstore.
- Take over-the-counter pain reliever.
What Your Dentist Can Do
Minor Cracks- Also referred as “craze lines”, are surface cracks that’s only affects the tooth enamel. Although these types of cracks rarely need treatment, your dentist may recommend polishing the area to smooth out any rough spots.
Cracked Teeth- This kind of tooth fracture involves the entire tooth, from the chewing surface all the way down to the nerve. The pieces of your tooth remain in place, but the crack gradually worsens. Cracked teeth can sometimes be repaired with filling materials, but oftentimes will need a crown to prevent the crack from worsening. If the tooth’s pulp is damaged, a root canal may be needed as well.
Chipped Teeth- Minor chips aren’t very noticeable and rarely require treatment. In the rare case that it does, your dentist may recommend using a tooth colored filling to make it look and feel better, while also preventing it from worsening.
Split Tooth- If your tooth split in two parts, it will require root canal treatment. Your dentist will have two roots that cannot be saved, and will place a crown over the root. In the worst case, where a root cannot be saved, your tooth will have to be removed.
Split Root or Vertical Breaks- This type of crack starts from the root and extends upwards, and are oftentimes painful. Most times, the tooth will have to be extracted.
Breaking Due To Decay- This is when your tooth has broken because a cavity weakened it from the inside out. Before your dentist is able to recommend you any treatment options to restore your tooth, they’ll first have to evaluate the severity of the condition. In worst cases, if the decay is has progressed down to the bone, your tooth will have to be removed.
There are several treatment options when it comes to repairing broken or chipped teeth. However, you should take precaution and know what you can do to prevent these sort of unfortunate things from occurring. For starters, you can wear a mouth guard while playing sports and avoid chewing on hard foods, especially hard candy.
If you have a broken tooth or suspect that you have a cracked tooth, contact Barmby and Frick Prosthodontics in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com for additional information.