Fix Cracked Teeth

Often occurring suddenly and without warning, a cracked tooth can happen for a variety of reasons.  Fortunately, dentists can fix a cracked tooth using a variety of methods.  This article will focus on the causes of a tooth crack as well as the treatment options that exist for patients.

What Causes a Tooth to Crack?

Clenching the jaw, grinding the teeth, and biting hard items like ice or candy, can all cause damage to the enamel over time and lead to the tooth cracking.  Trauma to the mouth can also lead to a tooth cracking.  The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) indicates that once a crack develops, the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth can become painful.  While it is possible for a tooth to be cracked and not feel it, a clear sign of cracking is sudden pain when eating, particularly if the food is extremely hot or cold.  In some cases, a crack will be able to be visually confirmed.

What to Do When a Tooth Cracks

It is always advisable to contact a dentist as soon as possible after a tooth has cracked in half.  Delaying treatment is never recommended because the longer the tooth is damaged, the higher the risk of infection.  Should an infection in the tooth’s pulp occur and not be addressed, the infection can spread to the gums and underlying bone structure.  Once these structures are damaged, tooth loss is possible and treatment options will be much more extensive.

If it is not possible to see the dentist immediately following the cracked tooth, patients should continue their normal oral hygiene practices until their visit.  Brushing should be gentler and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.  Care should be taken when eating and to the best extent possible, the cracked tooth should be avoided when chewing.

Repairing a Cracked Tooth

After evaluating the tooth to determine the extent of the cracking, the dentist will determine the best treatment for repairing the damage.  The treatment used will ultimately be determined by how extensive the crack is.  For small cracks or chips to the enamel, the dentist may use a filling or dental bonding materials to restore the damaged area.  The composite resins used in dental bonding procedures are matched to the color of the patient’s natural teeth to create a visually pleasing appearance.

In other cases, the dentist may decide to place a crown over a tooth if the crack is small or only a small piece has broken off.  Crowns are often made of porcelain and cover the entire tooth.  They allow the remaining portion of the tooth to be salvaged while covering and protecting it.  Like bonding materials, crowns are matched to the color of the natural teeth to create a seamless cosmetic blend.

For cracks that are extensive enough to compromise the integrity and functionality of the tooth, endodontic surgery, a root canal, or extraction may be necessary.  If a tooth must be removed, dental implants are a common restorative procedure that involve mounting a prosthetic onto a metal post that is surgically imbedded in the jawbone.  The implants fuse with the jawbone to function like roots and are sturdy enough to withstand the forces of chewing.

More on Fixing Teeth : Fix Chipped Teeth

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