Cracking a tooth can certainly cause a few moments of panic, especially if this is the first time it has happened to you. The good news is, with a quick trip to your dentist’s office, your tooth can often be repaired and you can be on your way. There are several different approaches to treating cracked teeth, and a few factors may determine what the best treatment in your particular situation may be.
The first thing you should realize when you suffer from a cracked tooth is that you will need to visit your dentist as soon as possible. In extreme cases, a cracked tooth could mean you will need an extraction of the tooth, and the sooner you visit your dentist the more likely it will be that your tooth can be saved.
Depending on the type of crack that you have experienced, there are a number of options for treatment. The least severe type of crack, which is known as a craze line, needs no treatment at all. These miniscule cracks show up as we age. They are very shallow, cause no pain, and cause no issues aside from possibly affecting your appearance.
A crown is a great solution if you are suffering from a fractured cusp. What this means is that a piece of your tooth’s chewing surface has broken off. These types of cracks often occur around a filling in your tooth. These fractures rarely damage the pulp of your tooth, and don’t often cause much pain. A crown will simply be placed over the damaged tooth to protect it, and you will be good as new.
A root canal is an option for a slightly more serious crack. If the crack extends from the chewing surface of your tooth vertically to the root of your tooth, a root canal might be your best bet. Early diagnosis of the cracked tooth is important in order to save the tooth with a root canal. Left untreated, the crack may spread and the tooth could separate into pieces. If the crack extends below the gum line, even a root canal won’t save your tooth. In this instance, extraction of the tooth will be your only option.
If you have a split tooth, meaning you have a crack with distinct segments that can be separated, your tooth will not be able to be saved intact. This is often the result of long-term progression of a cracked tooth that was not treated. The position and extent of the crack will determine whether or not some portion of the tooth can be saved by endodontic treatment.
A vertical root fracture is a crack that begins at the root of the tooth and then extends toward the chewing surface of your tooth. The problem with root fractures is that they are less noticeable than other cracks, meaning that they often go undetected for quite some time. The most common method of discovery is through infection in the surrounding bone and gums. While sometimes these teeth cannot be treated, it is possible that a portion of the tooth can be saved if the fractured root can be removed through endodontic surgery.
If you suspect that you have a cracked tooth, reach out to your dentist to schedule a consultation. When caught in the early stages, your tooth can often be saved. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Visit your dentist as soon as possible.