Do you have a cracked tooth? Don’t worry! Your dentist can likely repair it—but it’s essential to make the appointment as soon as possible.
Your teeth can withstand a lot of pressure without cracking. In fact, studies have shown your tooth’s enamel is almost as strong as steel. Even so, your teeth aren’t indestructible. A tooth may fracture due to severe decay, an injury, or simply biting down on a hard object or food, such as a nut. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, can wear down a tooth to the point of breakage. But can a cracked tooth be saved?
Fortunately, a broken tooth can be repaired with most of the natural tooth saved, likely with a crown or veneer. But it all depends on the severity of the fracture and its location on the tooth.
How do you know if you cracked a tooth?
Most cracked teeth exhibit no symptoms, especially if the break is minor. However, a significant fracture may cause pain when biting on the tooth, as well as sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or sweet foods. If you experience any of those symptoms, see your dentist immediately. The sooner the cracked tooth is treated, the better chance of preserving it.
Your dentist will perform a physical exam and tests to determine if a tooth is cracked. You may be asked to bite down on a stick to see if you feel any pain. To get a clearer picture of the crack, your dentist may shine a light on it or apply a dye to the tooth. An X-ray may also be taken.
How is a cracked tooth saved?
After the examination, your dentist will pinpoint the exact nature of the crack. In general, a cracked tooth is classified in five ways:
- Hairline crack. Also known as craze lines, hairline cracks are thin lines on the enamel’s surface.
- Cracked tooth. The vertical crack extends from the tooth’s cusp just before the gun line or runs through the root into the gum line.
- Vertical root fracture. This is similar to a cracked tooth, but the vertical break starts below the gum line and travels up to the biting surface.
- Fractured cusp. The top of the tooth is broken. This type usually appears around a filling.
- Split tooth. The break divides the tooth into two distinct halves.
Which type of crack you have will dictate treatment. If the crack is minor and not causing any pain, it may not require treatment. However, your dentist will want to monitor it.
But a cracked tooth isn’t necessarily lost. It can be saved in most cases with these dental therapies:
- Bonding. A bonding material fills in the crack.
- Contouring. Smoothing and polishing the surface of the tooth can make a minor crack disappear.
- Veneer. Your dentist can cover the crack with a veneer or a thin porcelain coating if most of the natural tooth is present.
- Root canal. If the crack destroys the tooth’s inner pulp, your dentist can repair it with a root canal.
- Crown. If little natural tooth remains, it can still be made whole with a crown.
- Extraction. Unfortunately, if the crack extends below the gum line, it cannot be treated. It must be extracted.
How to prevent a cracked tooth
Your teeth are durable, but they need your help to stay strong. While cracks may not always be preventable, you can significantly reduce the risk of breakage with these practices.
- Good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily reduces the chance of decay, which weakens your teeth.
- Wear a mouthguard. If you grind your teeth or play sports, ask your dentist for a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
- Don’t bite on hard objects. Chewing on ice or other hard foods can fracture a tooth.
- Eat the right diet. You know to limit sweets for healthy teeth. But what about foods and nutrients that can strengthen your teeth? Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C can make your teeth stronger. So be sure to get enough milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, and fish in your diet.
We can save your broken tooth!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Casper, Wyoming, location today! Our highly trained dentists can save your cracked tooth with various proven treatments. Don’t live near our Casper, Wyoming, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
1530 Centennial Ct.
Casper, WY 82609