Oh No! You Cracked A Tooth...Now What?

Dentist Blog

Although your teeth are made to be strong and withstand cracking or breaking, but cracking a tooth is not uncommon. Even with practicing good oral care and regular visits to your dentist, a tooth can crack if there is excessive force applied to the tooth. For example, if you are hit in the mouth during an accident or if you bite down on a nut that is still in the shell, the blunt force and the pressure can crack a tooth. Your teeth are also more susceptible to cracking as you age, especially if you have a problem with weak bones or a calcium deficiency.

What To Do If You Crack a Tooth

First, it is important to understand that a cracked or broken tooth can be treated at home. If you think you have cracked a tooth, contact a dentist that specializes in endodontic services as soon as possible so the dentist can examine the tooth, determine the extent of the damage and what will be the best method of treatment. The sooner you visit the dentist for treatment, the less the risk of the damage worsening. For example, a small surface crack can usually be repaired by the dentist with a simple polishing. However, serious cracking may require regenerative therapy and in some situations, a tooth extraction.

Common Causes for Cracked Teeth

A crack that goes beyond the first layer (the enamel) of the tooth and into the dentin, is considered a deep crack. This type of crack typically causes a great deal of pain, because it effects the nerves of the tooth. Deep cracks are often caused by biting down on an extremely hard substance, like a nut shell. Continued stress on the tooth causes it to slowly develop a crack, which typically worsens over time. Other causes for a cracked tooth may include:

  • An incorrectly placed crown may cause your bite to be uneven, causing stress on the teeth, which weakens the tooth, and causing it to crack.
  • Mercury fillings are a common cause for a cracked tooth in older adults. Mercury was previously used to fill a decayed tooth, but the mercury often did not bond correctly, which left it weak.
  • One of the most common causes of cracked teeth is trauma. For example, if you are hit in the face with a hard object or in a car accident, it may cause teeth to break or crack.
  • Playing sports is a common cause for cracked teeth among children.

Treatment For a Cracked Tooth

The type of treatment your dentist will use for treatment of a cracked tooth depends on several factors, such as how large the crack is and how deep into your tooth the crack is. Tiny cracks may not require any treatment except for a polishing, but if you are experiencing pain and/or the crack is severe, your dentist may:

  • Repair the tooth with a type of filling material
  • Install a crown on the tooth to protect it against further damage
  • Do regenerative therapy, which may include a root canal if the pulp is damaged
  • Extract the tooth if it cannot be saved

If you crack a tooth, the most important thing to remember is not to panic, because treatment is available. If you visit the dentist for treatments, such as teeth whitening, it may cause pain the area of a cracked tooth, so make sure your dentist is aware of a possible cracked tooth. It is important to have regular dental exams and treat all dental problems, including a cracked tooth, before the problem gets bigger.


4 March 2016

Coping With Dental Emergencies

My son was outside playing with some friends when he accidentally fell down and hit his mouth on the sidewalk. The fall knocked out his front tooth, so I immediately placed the tooth in a small jar and added some milk. I rushed my son to the dental clinic and the dentist immediately took us into the examination room. The dentist placed the tooth back into the socket and saved it. My name is Beverly Tillman and thanks to the quick work of the dentist, my son didn't lose his tooth. Since this was a scary time for me and my son, I wanted to write this blog as a source of information for other parents who are facing a dental emergency. First of all, don't panic and get to your dentist as soon as possible. I hope this blog will help to answer your questions about dental emergencies.