Raffles Place Emergency Dental: How to Treat a Cracked Tooth?
Having a cracked tooth can sometimes pose a problem. Sometimes, they can be minor and can only have cosmetic implications, and therefore not require any treatment.
If the crack is more severe, it could cause some complications such as an infection. This infection can spread to your gums and bone. You might experience pain when chewing, sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drink, and have swollen gums. In more severe cases, you would develop a fever.
This is when you know it’s time to visit the dentist. Leaving it without getting it treated could increase the risk of it chipping or breaking. Also, it could cause decay in the tooth too.
Our Raffles Place emergency dental care experts at Nuffield deal with dental emergencies on a daily basis, and a cracked tooth is one of the most common oral problems they encounter.
Causes of Cracked Teeth
Teeth can crack for a variety of reasons that include:
- Hit by force. Falls, sports injuries, traffic accidents, or physical violence can cause
- Teeth grinding (bruxism). Sometimes stressful life events can trigger bouts of anxiety which can cause teeth clenching and grinding as you sleep. Other causes of teeth grinding include an unaligned bite or crooked teeth.
- Ageing. Adults over the age of 40 are usually more prone to a weakening of the enamel layer and the cracks forming in teeth.
- Biting into hard substances. The force of biting down into very hard food such as hard candy, unpopped popcorn kernel, or nuts.
- Extreme temperature changes affect fillings. If you have fillings in your tooth, experiencing erratic and extreme temperature changes, causes them to expand and contract, compromising the structural integrity of the tooth.
Different causes of teeth cracking, and the force that causes these cracks, affect the types of cracks that form. The type of treatment depends on the types of cracks that result and of saving the tooth is an option.
Types of Cracked Teeth
- Craze lines. These are very small cracks on teeth, are not painful and do not require any treatment. They sometimes occur because of regular wear and tear.
- Fractured cusp. This occurs when a small piece of the tooth’s surface breaks off. The pulp, the nerve centre, however, remains protected and no treatment is usually necessary.
- Split tooth. This results when the crack extends from the surface of the tooth straight to the gum line. It’s unlikely that the tooth can be saved.
- Vertical root fracture. This results when a complete or incomplete fracture extends from the crown to the root of the tooth. This sometimes happens during a root canal treatment performed poorly, where excessive canal shaping takes place or the gutta-percha filling is compacted with excessive force. Usually, the tooth cannot be saved and needs to be extracted.
How to Treat a Cracked Tooth?
Several treatments exist to address the problem of your cracked tooth, but the type of treatment that fits best would ultimately depend on the type of crack that is being treated. Treatments range from more minor solutions of bondings or crowns to more major ones such as a root canal or a tooth extraction.
Minor cracks such as craze lines and fractured cusps do not require any treatments usually. For more serious cracks, a bonding treatment would fill the cracks while a crown treatment would involve a ceramic or porcelain cap to protect the tooth and prevent it from further damage or from bacteria entering the nerve centre of the tooth.
Prevention is always better than needing to fix the problem later. Having excellent oral health and a strict dental care routine is vital to ensuring dental health problems do not develop. Also taking necessary precautions such as to wear a bite guard when sleeping if you grind your teeth at night, would also prevent the formation of cracks.
Visit Raffles Place emergency dental care experts so one of our dentists would be able to take a look at your teeth and outline a course of action for you.