Firmly anchored in your jaw and protected by an outer coating of tough enamel, your teeth are remarkably strong — yet it’s still possible for them to chip, crack, or even break. For example, biting down on hard objects, receiving a blow to the mouth, or having large cavities (or old amalgam fillings) weakens the structure of the tooth resulting in tooth fractures.
Dental Care South is a family dental practice that can provide restorative dentistry for a cracked tooth. From small chips to deep fractures, our dental practice has a number of treatment options for a cracked tooth. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a cracked tooth, contact our Tuscaloosa office to make an appointment.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
Take a closer look at the types of fractures teeth can develop, the symptoms they may produce, and potential dental treatments.
Minor Cracks (craze lines)
These tiny fissures in the outer enamel of the tooth often cause few or no symptoms, and in many cases don’t require treatment. It is important, however, to have your family dentist evaluate the crack to determine if dental treatment is needed.
This type of crack often starts at the chewing surface and extends down toward the roots, but it may also begin in the root and continue up toward the crown. Either way, the cracked tooth doesn’t completely separate into two parts. Depending on the extent of the fracture, you may feel only minor discomfort that occurs in response to temperature changes, such as drinking hot or cold beverages. In some cases, this type of cracked tooth may produce sharp pain when you chew. You shouldn’t ignore the symptoms, because a cracked tooth requires dental treatment quickly to keep it from progressing further. If the crack continues to develop, tooth extraction may become necessary.
Deep Fractures or Split Teeth
When serious fractures occur, you’ll know it! The distinct parts of the tooth can be separated from each other, and the tooth’s pulp is often inflamed and painful. This condition requires immediate evaluation and treatment. Unfortunately, a tooth that is severely fractured is hard to save. If the tooth has to be extracted, there are dental implant options for replacing a lost tooth.
Evaluating a Cracked Tooth
When you come to our Tuscaloosa location, your family dentist will examine your cracked tooth to determine the severity of the crack and if it has penetrated the dentin, which is the inner body of the tooth. Your dentist will most likely use a dental explorer to feel the crack, take X-rays, or have you close down on a bite stick. Your family dentist may also use special dye stains or high-magnification dental instruments to see the crack better.
Treatment for Cracked Teeth
The treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the extent of the crack and the severity of the damage. If a small crack is detected early, it’s often possible to seal the fissure with restorative dentistry materials. For larger cracks that involve the pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment is generally required. Afterward, the visible structure of the tooth may be restored with a dental crown. Sometimes, additional procedures may be recommended to try and save the tooth. In the most severe cases, however, the tooth will most likely need to be extracted.
Preventing Cracked Teeth
To best protect your teeth from receiving one of these problematic cracks, our Tuscaloosa family dentist recommends:
- Wearing proper protective equipment, such as a custom-fitted mouthguard when playing sports.
- Staying alert to avoid dangerous situations, like distracted or impaired driving, which can cause an accident.
- Having regular dental check-ups at our Tuscaloosa office to keep your teeth strong and healthy, and keep an eye out for early signs of dental problems.
Take Care of Your Cracked Teeth Today
If you experience any symptoms that indicate you may have a cracked tooth, don’t wait to make an appointment at our Tuscaloosa office. The sooner it’s treated, the better chance we have of saving your cracked tooth. So schedule your next appointment now!