From facial trauma to multiple tooth restorations, your teeth can develop cracks for many reasons. A cracked tooth can cause numerous oral health problems, including pain, swelling, and damage to the tooth’s root. Cracks can develop in teeth because of acids in food, drinks, or medicines, biting or chewing hard food or ice, and using your teeth as tools to open packages.
However, many people who experience a cracked tooth wonder if they need to visit an emergency dentist and can you fix a cracked tooth? Understanding the symptoms of a cracked tooth and the various treatment options can help you know how to manage a dental emergency.
How Can I Tell If I Have a Cracked Tooth?
A cracked tooth isn’t always noticeable and may not exhibit symptoms. However, large cracks can penetrate the inner dentin and pulp layers or extend below the gum line causing intense discomfort.
Common indicators of a cracked tooth:
- Swelling or pain in the gum surrounding the cracked tooth.
- A sudden sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweet foods and drinks.
- Pain while chewing or biting, especially intermittent pain that worsens when you release your bite.
More than one type of crack can occur in your teeth and appear in different ways.
Verticle root fracture
This type of crack often goes unnoticed because it doesn’t produce symptoms unless it gets infected. This crack travels from beneath the gum line upwards to the crown.
Craze lines are tiny cracks in the enamel of the tooth. They don’t cause pain and often don’t require treatment, but they can make the tooth appear patchy or discoloured.
A split tooth may have received extensive damage. A consultation with your dentist is necessary to find out if the tooth can be saved or news to be removed and replaced. A split tooth is a tooth that has been cracked from its surface to below the gumline, sometimes resulting in a divided tooth.
A fractured cusp typically occurs in the area around a dental filling. This type of cracked tooth usually doesn’t affect the tooth’s pulp and doesn’t always produce pain.
Can You Fix a Cracked Tooth? Treatment Options
Several treatment options are available to repair a cracked tooth, depending on the crack’s severity and location.
If your tooth is badly cracked and you experience discomfort when eating and drinking, you must visit an emergency dentist. Dental crowns are an effective treatment for repairing a cracked tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-coloured cap that covers the entire tooth.
Your dentist prepares your cracked tooth by removing some of the tooth enamel and shaping the tooth. They then take a dental impression using a tray filled with polyvinyl siloxane to create a mould to send to a dental lab. Your dentist places a temporary crown over the tooth for protection until the permanent crown is ready.
You then revisit your dentist to have the temporary crown removed and the permanent one cemented in place.
Root canal therapy
If the crack extends below the gum line, this is considered a dental emergency and requires immediate treatment. Deep cracks can traumatise the pulp inside your tooth, leading to decay and necrosis. Your dentist may prescribe root canal therapy to save the tooth from extraction.
After numbing the area with a gel and applying a local anaesthetic, your dentist opens the tooth crown with a dental burr. They then use an endodontic drill to remove damaged pulp tissue from the chamber, file the inside, and flush it with an antiseptic solution to prevent bacterial growth.
The chambers are filled with a natural latex called gutta-percha and then sealed with a dental filling. In some cases, your dentist may cap the tooth with a dental crown to improve the tooth’s structural integrity.
Veneers are a cosmetic procedure that can be used to disguise craze lines or minor cracks that are not considered a dental emergency.
Dental veneers are thin porcelain ceramic shells that cover the front of the teeth. To prepare the tooth for the veneer, your dentist removes approximately 0.5mm of enamel from the front of the tooth. They take dental impressions and send them to the lab where your veneers are fabricated. At a follow-up appointment, your dentist bonds the veneers to the front of your teeth.
For shallow cracks, your dentist may suggest cosmetic bonding as an alternative to dental veneers. During a dental bonding treatment, your dentist uses a chemical roughening agent to allow the composite resin to adhere to the tooth. The composite is applied in layers, hardening each layer using UV light. The tooth is then shaped and polished.
In some cases, the answer to, can you fix a cracked tooth, is no. If you have left your cracked tooth untreated or the crack is severe, you need to visit an emergency dentist for an extraction.
An extraction is performed using a local anaesthetic. Your dentist loosens the tooth from the connective tissue and socket with a dental elevator and removes it using forceps.
It is important not to leave a gap in your smile. Missing teeth can cause misalignment and bite issues and increase your risk of decay and gum disease. The longer you leave the gap, the more likely you are to suffer from bone resorption, which can alter the appearance of your face.
To replace your missing tooth after an extraction, discuss dental implants with your dentist. A dental implant consists of a titanium post that acts as the tooth root and is surgically embedded in your jaw. An abutment is placed on the post, which connects the implant to a restoration.
Achieving Your Perfect Smile
During a dental emergency like a cracked tooth, it is critical to visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible. Radiant Smiles Dental Group uses advanced diagnostic tools to provide quick and effective treatments tailored specifically to your oral health needs.
Our dental team can answer the question ‘can you fix a cracked tooth’? determine the severity of the problem, and find the best treatment for your specific needs. Contact us today at (03) 9000 0537 to book your appointment or schedule your dental emergency treatment.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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