We all live busy lives! Compared with our previous generations, we live longer lives and deal with many more years of stress in our daily lives. We expose our teeth to many more years of potentially damaging habits like clenching, grinding, and chewing on hard objects. Adding additional stress to our smiles can make it easier for our teeth to crack or break.
At Beetham Dentistry in Kirkland, our dentists want to help you treat your cracked tooth as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the tooth and the tissue. If your tooth is cracked, you may not know right away. Even if you don't see a crack or breakage, extreme pain and sensitivity to heat and cold could be indicative of a cracked or broken tooth. When you think your tooth may be cracked, call the dental team at Beetham Dentistry in Kirkland as soon as possible!
Why do cracked teeth hurt?
When you chew or move your jaw, this can cause movement of the broken pieces of your tooth. This makes your tooth pulp, normally protected by the harder tissues and enamel, more irritated, vulnerable and prone to pain. When you bite and put pressure on your tooth, the crack can open and close quickly, which results in a quick, sharp pain. Naturally, the more time you have a cracked tooth without seeking treatment, the longer you're in pain and the more damage you do to your dental pulp. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged to the point where it can no longer heal itself.
If it gets to that point, you may face more extensive (not to mention expensive!) dental procedures. To keep your dental bills down and improve your dental health, call Dr. Marianna Beetham at Beetham Dentistry if your tooth is broken.
What if my tooth is already cracked?
If you think your tooth is cracked, call us as soon as you can! When you experience a dental emergency, we want to make sure we can see you as soon as possible, and shorten the amount of time you're in pain or discomfort.
Give us a call at (425) 825-8800 as soon as you think your tooth is broken or cracked!
How do I prevent cracked teeth?
While cracked teeth are not completely preventable, you can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracks.
- Don't chew on hard objects such as ice, unpopped popcorn kernels, or pens.
- Don't clench or grind your teeth.
- Wear a mouthguard or protective mask when playing contact sports.
- Schedule regular dental check ups with your dentist at Beetham Dentistry in Kirkland. Even if your teeth feel fine, we're able to spot problems before they get worse!
Early diagnosis is important. Even with high magnification and special lighting, it can be challenging to determine the extent of a crack. A cracked tooth that is not treated will progressively worsen, and eventually result in the loss of the tooth. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to saving these teeth.
What are the different types of cracked teeth?
There are many different types of cracked teeth. The treatment and outcome for your tooth depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack.
Craze lines are tiny cracks that affect only the outer enamel. These cracks are extremely common in adult teeth. Craze lines are very shallow, cause no pain, and are of no concern beyond appearance.
When a cusp (the pointed part of the chewing surface) becomes weakened, a fracture sometimes results. The weakened cusp may break off by itself or have to be removed by the endodontist. When this happens, the pain will usually be relieved. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal treatment is seldom needed. Your tooth will usually be restored with a full crown by your dentist.
Some cracks extend from the chewing surface of the tooth vertically toward the root. A cracked tooth may not be completely separated into two distinct segments. Because of the position of the crack, damage to the pulp is common. Root canal treatment is frequently needed to treat the injured pulp.
Your dentist will restore your tooth with a crown to hold the pieces together and protect the cracked tooth. At times, the crack may extend below the gingival tissue line, which requires extraction.
A split tooth is often the result of long-term progression of a cracked tooth. The split tooth is identified by a crack with distinct segments that can be separated. A split tooth cannot be saved intact. The position and extent of the crack, however, will determine whether a part of the tooth can be saved. In rare instances, endodontic treatment and a crown or other restoration by your dentist may be used to save a portion of the tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture
Vertical root fractures are cracks that begin in the root of the tooth and extend toward the chewing surface. They often show minimal signs and symptoms and may therefore go unnoticed until the surrounding bone and gum become infected. Treatment may entail extraction of the tooth. However, endodontic surgery is sometimes appropriate if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root.