The Importance Of Treating A Broken Or Cracked Tooth
Your tooth structure consists of three layers: your dental enamel is a protective hard layer on the outside of your teeth. Just below the enamel is your dentin, which is a softer substance. If it is exposed because of a break or chip in the dental enamel, you will be able to feel sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and sugar. Underneath the dentin is your tooth pulp which contains a mixture of blood vessels and nerves. If the pulp is exposed your tooth will feel very sensitive.
Your dental enamel is there to protect the other layers of your tooth from infection and decay. Any cracks, chips or breaks need to be tended to immediately by your emergency dentist as they can compromise the health of your tooth. A broken or cracked tooth is a dental emergency and should receive urgent treatment.
What Can Cause A Broken Or Cracked Tooth?
There are a number of different factors that can cause a tooth to break or chip. Some of these include
- Trauma or force to the mouth
- Biting down on a hard piece of food
- Using your teeth as a tool to open containers or jars
- Extreme temperature fluctuation
- Pressure on an already weakened tooth that has restorations
- Pressure on a tooth that has had root canal treatment
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Broken Or Cracked Tooth?
If you haven’t had a fall or trauma to the mouth, it might not be obvious that you have a broken or cracked tooth.
You might experience tooth sensitivity or pain when biting down to chew food. This occurs because the crack can open and close slightly with your bite pressure.
Sometimes a crack could be so small that it is invisible to the naked eye, but can easily cause irritation inside your dental pulp which can lead to tooth sensitivity.
What To Do With A Broken Tooth?
Your plan of action will depend on the extent of damage that is done. Some coping strategies that might help while you wait for an appointment with your emergency dentist may include
- Only chewing on the opposite side of your mouth
- Taking over the counter pain medication to help with discomfort
- Avoiding sugared, hot or cold foods and drinks
- Rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution to keep it clean
How To Manage A Knocked-Out Tooth?
In the event that a tooth has been knocked out of the mouth completely, you should act quickly and find the tooth as there is still a chance that it can be saved. Manage any bleeding with pressure. Give the patient a piece of clean cloth or gauze to bite down onto.
Try to find the tooth and pick it up carefully in order to avoid touching the roots. Keep it moist and clean, either by storing it on your cheek or in a small container of milk. Contact your emergency dentist immediately for an appointment and let them know that the tooth has been knocked out. In the event that you cannot get emergency dental care, make your way to your nearest clinic or hospital where you will be assisted.
What Treatment Options Are Available For A Broken Tooth?
The most appropriate dental treatment will depend on the extent of the break or crack. If it is a small crack, it may be possible to repair the tooth with a filling. If the break is on a back tooth or molar and is quite large, a dental crown or restoration may be the best option.
If you have cracked or broken one of your front teeth, your dentist may recommend a dental veneer so that the restoration is not obvious. A veneer would only be recommended if the break is small and does not impact the structure of your tooth.
In the event that your dental pulp does become infected, you may need to have a root canal treatment and a dental crown. If the cracked tooth has to be extracted, you may want to consider a dental implant as a permanent tooth replacement.
If you need to know more about what to do with a broken tooth please get emergency dental care straight away. The sooner you act, the smaller your chances of complications. Please contact our practice for assistance: (02) 9158 6211.