The enamel on the outside of our teeth is the strongest part of the human body. While it can withstand a lot, even enamel has its limits. A blunt force injury to the face, chewing on something hard, or teeth grinding can cause the enamel to crack.
Chipped and cracked teeth are often thought of as an eyesore that interferes with your beautiful smile. However, chips and cracks in your teeth can be even more serious than that. Without intervention, these small cracks can become major problems.
If a cracked tooth goes too long without treatment, the pulp, roots, and gums can become infected. In some cases, the tooth even needs full extraction. That’s why it’s important for everyone to know the signs of a cracked tooth, what to do about it, and how a dentist can help.
Signs of a Cracked Tooth
Sometimes, a crack or chip in a tooth is obvious. You might have seen a large crack while looking in the mirror or even pulled the chip out of something you were eating. However, not all cracks in teeth are so easily spotted.
If you notice a sharp pain when you bite or chew, it could be from a crack in your tooth. If the affected tooth is infected, you could also have symptoms like bad breath, sensitivity to cold or heat, and swelling around the tooth.
Even if you cannot see a crack in the affected tooth, it’s important to see a dentist if you experience these symptoms. Some cracks happen just below the surface of the tooth, so they are not visible to the naked eye.
What To Do If You Have a Cracked or Chipped Tooth
If you know or suspect that you have a cracked or chipped tooth, you will want to make an appointment with a dentist or endodontist (a specialized dentist) as soon as possible. If the chip or crack is visible and painful, make an emergency appointment with a dentist, as you may be most vulnerable to infection.
In some cases, a cracked tooth is not an emergency. If this is the case, be sure to:
- Make an appointment with a specialist
- Rinse your mouth with saltwater or an antibacterial, non-alcoholic rinse
- Avoid chewing or biting with the affected tooth
- Take over-the-counter medications to control pain
How Dentists Fix Cracked or Chipped Teeth
When you see an endodontist for a cracked or chipped tooth, the first thing they will do is determine the severity and type of injury to the tooth. They will ask about your symptoms and then use special tools to examine the tooth.
Once they have a good understanding of the damage, you can make a plan to treat the chipped or cracked tooth. The treatment options will depend on the injury and may include any of the following.
- Root canal therapy: The endodontist removes damaged tissue from the tooth’s pulp, then fills the tooth to prevent further damage.
- Crown or cap: The endodontist grinds away damaged or decayed parts of the teeth, then adds a crown on top to restore your smile.
- Dental filling or bonding: For cracks that only affect the enamel, the endodontist may fill the cracks with a tooth-colored substance that restores the tooth.
- Extraction and replacement: If the tooth is too damaged or decayed to save, the endodontist may recommend removing it. Then, you would receive an implant or other tooth replacement.
If you’re worried about a cracked or chipped tooth, talk to a specialist. They can go over all of your options and help you choose the right path forward for you.
Fix a Cracked Tooth in Edmond, OK
If you think you may have a cracked tooth or can see visible damage to the tooth, contact Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma. Doctor Victoria J. Ball, DDS, MSD has many years of experience fixing cracked and chipped teeth. She fully commits to everything she does, which shows in her numerous board appointments and leadership positions.
Our team can show you that same commitment and restore your brilliant smile. Contact us today to book your appointment.