The teeth are strong, with the enamel considered the hardest substance in the human body, but that doesn’t mean that it’s immune to damage.
While very rare, your teeth can chip, crack or break, any of which may be the likely result of the following:
- Biting down on something that’s incredibly hard
- Taking a hit straight to the face or mouth
- Falling face-first on the ground
- Large, old amalgam fillings need to be removed because they no longer are able to support the remaining enamel of the affected tooth.
Unless the piece is large enough, you probably won’t be able to feel any kind of pain whenever a tooth chips or breaks off. However, you should be able to feel the sharpness of the area almost immediately using your tongue.
Chips or cracks may also be a sign of nerve damage inside the tooth. This is usually accompanied by tooth sensitivity, most evident when drinking or eating hot or cold food or drinks.
When a tooth breaks or cracks, the pain, if any, will usually come and go. Though, what is constant is the sharpness you feel when your tongue passes through it and of course, how the broken or cracked teeth make you feel conscious whenever you smile.
What You Can Do About It
Aesthetically, broken and cracked teeth present a huge problem. Though, looks aren’t the only cause for concern, as broken and cracked teeth can cause pain, as well as be a sign or a precursor of a worse dental problem.
As such, it is important to visit the dentist immediately as soon as you discover that you have cracked or broken teeth. This is especially important if your teeth hurt all the time, or if it only hurts when you release your bite or when you no longer clench, which is a sign of a broken tooth with possible damage to its nerve or blood vessels.
For broken teeth, it is important to seek medical attention to know what caused the cavity and to see if the tooth’s nerve is in danger. If the latter is true, a root canal treatment may be necessary to save the tooth.
The Different Types of Dental Treatment
- Minor cracks – Surface cracks only affect the enamel or the outer white surface of your tooth. These cracks rarely need extensive treatment, though your dentist may recommend polishing the area to help smooth out rough spots.
- Cracked teeth – Cracks can be repaired using filling material. However, more often than not, the tooth will require a crown to prevent the crack from widening. Also, a root canal may be necessary if the nerve and other live tissues become damaged.
- Chips – Small chips are rarely noticeable and usually don’t require treatment. However, in case it does, dentists recommend using filling material to make it look and feel better, as well as prevent it from getting worse.
- Split Tooth – If the tooth has split into two parts like it was somewhat sliced open, a root canal treatment is necessary. The dentist will then have to remove any of the roots that can’t be kept, where after a crown is placed to cover the root. In worse cases, the whole tooth may have to be removed.
- Split Roots – If the splitting starts from the root and extends upward, the tooth will usually have to be removed to prevent infection.
- Breaking resulting from decay – If a cavity has caused the tooth to weaken from the inside it, the dentist will have to check the severity of the condition first to find out the best way to restore the tooth. However, if the decay has progressed deep down to the bone, the tooth will have to be removed.
As you can see, there are several treatment options for cracked and chipped teeth. However, it’s important to know that you can prevent such unfortunate things from happening to your teeth by wearing a mouthguard when engaging in contact sports and avoiding chewing on hard foods, especially candies.
Of course, once you do suspect a crack or chip in your tooth, it’s best to schedule an appointment with the dentist to see the severity of the tooth fracture and for you to know what the best type of treatment is available for it.
If you need to get your chipped or cracked tooth repaired, contact Tory Hill Dental at 207-929-6626 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit toryhilldental.com for additional information.