A cracked tooth is a common but potentially serious dental condition. You might get a chipped molar eating food, grinding your teeth, playing sports or due to a facial injury such as a car or bike accident.
But what should you do if you have a cracked tooth filling or tooth? Read on for the inside scoop.
About Cracked Teeth
Any part of a tooth could get a crack. Cracks might be shallow or deep, short or long.
Sometimes the crack is visible but not always. That makes it difficult to self-diagnose if you have a cracked or chipped molar
Tooth cracks are more common in people who are 40 years or older. Cracks are more common in women.
Some types of teeth cracks are harmless and don’t require treatment. Your symptoms will let you know if your cracked tooth needs dental attention.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
A cracked tooth doesn’t always cause any symptoms. You might have a cracked tooth and not know it.
Yet, there are some signs to watch for that let you know that you have a cracked tooth.
The first sign of trouble is tooth pain. Especially if it happens when you are chewing food. You might start to feel sensitivity to either hot or cold food or drinks or to sweet things like candy.
Swollen gums can be a sign that you have a cracked or chipped tooth. Or you might just have discomfort in your mouth that you can’t quite pinpoint.
When you have a cracked tooth, the pain typically comes and goes.
If you have one or more of these symptoms you should make an urgent dentist appointment. An untreated chipped molar or cracked tooth filling can lead to bigger issues.
What to Do While You Wait for Your Appointment
While you are waiting for your dentist appointment, try to pay careful attention to when and where you feel symptoms. This can help your dentist find the source.
Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that has the chipped tooth.
If you have any swelling on your face, apply an ice pack for up to 20 minutes at a time to lower the swelling. If you have bruising or are in pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication.
How Do Dentists Diagnose Cracked Teeth?
During your dentist appointment, your dentist will examine your mouth. It’s not always easy to diagnose a cracked or chipped molar or tooth.
He or she may use a magnifying glass to try to find the crack. The dentist may also use an explorer to search for rough or cracked edges that snag on the tip of the instrument. He or she will also look for gum inflammation in order to locate the damaged tooth.
In some cases, a dentist may apply a dental dye on your teeth. This dye makes cracks more visible.
Your dentist might ask you to bite down to try to get you to find the exact spot where the pain in. Sometimes, a dentist will take an x-ray of the teeth to look at the teeth. Though a crack won’t show up on an X-ray, the pulp of a tooth will let the dentist know which teeth are unhealthy and could have a crack.
If you crack a tooth that has a filling, your dentist might need to remove the filing to find the extent of the crack.
If the crack is not visible, a dentist will try to make a diagnosis by asking the person about their dental history and symptoms they are having.
What Are Your Treatment Options?
The treatment option for your cracked tooth depends on where the crack is and the severity of it.
Your dentist may choose to glue the chipped part of the tooth to protect it from further damage. He or she may opt to repair the crack with resin. This process is called bonding.
A filling might repair a crack. In some cases, a dentist will put in a crown to cover a severely cracked tooth. Or when a crack has reached the pulp, your dentist might choose to perform a root canal.
Sometimes removing the tooth and considering looking into the dental implant market for a replacement is the best course.
Complications Due to Cracked Teeth
Cracked teeth can lead to serious complications such as infection if left untreated. Infections will increase the sensations of sensitivity, pain, swelling in the gums and can cause pus to build up and need to be drained.
Dental infections can cause bad breath and pain in the neck glands. You might have to take antibiotics if you get an infection.
Even if your cracked tooth doesn’t become infected, constantly biting down on it can open the crack wider. It can irritate the nerves and blood vessels inside the soft tissue of your tooth.
More expensive dental procedures and increased pain could result. That’s why it is wise to have your dentist check your teeth as soon as possible if you think you have cracked your tooth.
Cracked teeth due to an accident can come with their own complications. There could be severe nerve damage or impact other teeth. Always consult a dentist after an injury to your mouth.
Thanks for reading. We hope this article has given you the information you need to know what to do if you sustain an injury that results in a cracked tooth.
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