A cracked tooth is a common dental problem. There are a variety of reasons a crack may form in a tooth, but if it occurs it should be addressed right away. A cracked tooth is at a high risk of infection and prompt treatment could save the tooth.
How does an endodontist repair a cracked tooth? Here’s everything you need to know about diagnosis, treatment, causes, and prevention of cracked teeth.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
A cracked tooth is not always something you can see. You may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sensitivity to cold or heat.
- Residual pain like a toothache.
- Pain when chewing or biting.
- Swelling around the tooth.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate treatment.
Common Causes of a Cracked Tooth
A tooth may crack due to a variety of causes:
- Grinding your teeth. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common habit. It mostly occurs at night while you sleep, which is why many people don’t realize they do it. The constant pressure it puts on the teeth can gradually weaken the enamel and cause it to crack.
- Metal (amalgam) fillings. Cavities used to be filled with metal (amalgam), which can expand and contract with changes in temperature. When the filling expands, your tooth enamel doesn’t, it may eventually cause the tooth to crack.
- Weak enamel. Tooth enamel can be weak for a variety of reasons such as a fluoride and/or calcium deficiency, or just the natural makeup of your teeth. Weak enamel is more susceptible to cracking.
- Biting or chewing something hard. Chewing or biting hard candy, nuts, seeds, and ice can cause a tooth to crack, as well as non-food items.
Treatment for a Cracked Tooth
A cracked tooth will most likely be treated with a root canal and a crown. A root canal involves removal of the dental pulp from the inside of the tooth. Dental pulp is soft tissue containing blood vessels and nerves that is integral in the development of the tooth, but is no longer needed in a mature tooth. The inside of the tooth, the root canal, is filled with a rubbery replacement filling that will prevent future infection. A crown is then placed over the existing tooth to protect the root.
A cracked tooth may require minor oral surgery if the crack extends downward below the gum line or begins below the gum line and extends upwards toward the crown of the tooth.
How To Prevent Cracked Teeth
A cracked tooth can not always be prevented, but you can reduce the chances with these tips:
- Avoid using your teeth to remove tags or open containers. One of the most common causes of a cracked tooth is using your teeth for something other than chewing food. Don’t try to remove tags or open containers using your teeth.
- Don’t chew items that aren’t food. Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, or other non-food items that could damage your teeth and cause a crack.
- Have old metal fillings replaced. If you have one or more metal fillings, consider having them replaced with composite fillings.
- Get plenty of fluoride and calcium. Use fluoride toothpaste and get plenty of calcium from diet or vitamin supplements.
Why See an Endodontist for a Cracked Tooth?
A simple cracked tooth can most likely be treated by a general dentist. However, an endodontist specializes in the treatment of teeth from the inside out, focusing on the dental pulp and saving your natural teeth. An endodontist can identify a small crack in a tooth using high tech diagnostic equipment that would otherwise be difficult to locate. Endodontists perform root canal procedures as well as more complex oral surgeries to treat cracks below the gum line.
Hudson Endodontics Provides Treatment for Cracked Teeth
If you have a cracked tooth or any of the symptoms indicating a cracked tooth, Hudson Endodontics can diagnose and repair it. It is our goal to save your teeth whenever possible so that they can remain in your mouth with the natural roots intact.