What is a fractured (cracked) tooth?
A fractured (cracked) tooth is a situation wherein a crack appears on your tooth — this situation can also be called a cracked tooth syndrome. In mild cases, the crack might be small enough that it’s completely harmless, but, on the other hand, the crack might be large enough to split your tooth in half. Anyone can develop a fractured or cracked tooth, but the syndrome is most common amongst children and older individuals. You may develop a fractured or cracked tooth because of age, tooth grinding, wear and tear, dental injuries, trauma, and numerous other factors. You must contact an emergency dentist if you have a dental fracture, especially since some of them can be severe and cause complications.
What causes teeth fractures and cracks?
- Age: The risk of tooth fractures increases as you grow older, especially when you’re past 50.
- Biting Hard Objects: You have a high risk of tooth fractures and cracks if you bite hard objects, such as popcorn kernels, ice cubes, etc.
- Habits: You have a high risk of tooth fractures if you grind your teeth while sleeping or frequently chew gum.
- Teeth Grinding: If you suffer from bruxism and gnash your teeth while sleeping, you may wear away the enamel and lead to fractures and cracks.
- Trauma: You have a high risk of tooth fractures because of accidents, falls, sports injuries, and other types of injuries.
What are the types of teeth fractures?
- Cracked Teeth: This is a vertical crack that runs from the external enamel to the gum line. It can also reach into the gum line or root, which may necessitate a dental extraction.
- Craze Line: Also known as hairline cracks, these types of fractures are small and thin cracks that only appear on the outer enamel of your teeth and don’t cause any pain.
- Fractured Cusps: The dental fracture affects the cusps of your teeth or the regions around the dental fillings. They’re not painful, but they necessitate dental fillings or crowns.
- Split Teeth: The dental crack may reach under the tooth’s surface and the gum line, splitting your tooth into two parts. This may necessitate tooth extraction.
- Vertical Fracture: The crack may start at the gum line and reach the tooth’s surface, increasing the risk of bacterial infections. You may need a root canal or extraction.
What are the symptoms of a fractured tooth?
- Intermittent bouts of pain, especially while chewing food.
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, even when the stimulus is removed.
- Swelling around the impacted tooth.
- Toothaches while chewing or biting.
- Signs of dental infection, such as fever, swelling, and pus-filled cysts.
In most cases, fractured and cracked teeth don’t produce obvious symptoms, especially if the crack is just on the surface. However, the severity of the symptoms increases as the crack extends deeper into the tooth’s root canal or pulp chamber. The onset of symptoms indicates that the crack is serious, and the signs of dental infections necessitate emergency appointments. However, even if you’re asymptomatic, you should still contact an emergency dentist because the crack might be hidden underneath the surface, and it may cause complications later.
How do dentists treat fractured teeth?
If you have the signs or symptoms of a fractured tooth, you must contact an emergency dentist or endodontist as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can place an ice pack on the outside of your mouth to minimize swelling. You can also rinse your mouth with salt water to cleanse your mouth and minimize the risk of infections. You can take pain medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and then go to the emergency dentist. The dentist will examine your teeth and run tests to determine the type of fracture and then curate a personalized treatment plan.
The following are the possible treatment options for fractured teeth:
- Composite Bonding: The dentist applies a composite resin material to fill the fracture. This is only suitable for minor cracks and craze lines.
- Contouring: If you have craze lines, the dentist may polish out the cracked tooth to smoothen the lines, making it look smooth and flawless.
- Veneers: The dentist places a tooth-shaped and tooth-colored wafer on the front face of your tooth to restore its external appearance. This is only cosmetic.
- Crown: If the crack is too large for composite bonding, the dentist will remove the external components of the teeth and attach a tooth-shaped cap to restore it completely.
- Root Canal: The dentist may remove the infected pulp tissues from the internal chambers of your teeth and then place a dental crown. This is only meant for serious fractures.
- Extraction: If the fracture affects the roots or nerves of your teeth, the dentist may have to extract the tooth completely.
Should I brush my teeth before going to the dentist? Why?
If you brush your teeth before visiting the dentist, you can remove the accumulated plaque and food particles from your teeth and gum line. This will reduce the amount of plaque that the dental hygienist has to remove, thus reducing the chair time. Furthermore, in some cases, it might also help you achieve a more comfortable dental cleaning with minimal inflammation and irritation. You must also brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly to maintain optimal oral health.
How long should a typical dental cleaning take?
A typical dental cleaning takes 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the quality of your oral health. The more plaque and tartar you have, the longer the dental cleaning will last. To minimize your dental cleaning duration, you should maintain optimal oral health and brush your teeth before the session.
Please schedule your dentist appointment today
URBN Dental is one of the most reliable dental clinics in Uptown, Houston, 77027. You can find our Uptown dental clinic at 2400 Mid Ln. #350, Houston, a stone’s throw from Galleria. The dental clinic is ideal for patients living in or around the Galleria, Highland Village, Upper Kirby, Bellaire, or River Oaks. Please schedule your dentist appointment today if you have fractured or cracked teeth.