What to Do about a Cracked Tooth

Perhaps you slipped on some ice and broke one of your front teeth. Or maybe you were chewing on a piece of hard candy and heard a cracking noise. No matter the circumstances, breaking or cracking a tooth can be scary. Luckily, with the help of Longmont dentist Amy Farmer, your tooth and smile can be restored to its former glory.

Common Reasons Why People Break or Crack Teeth

There are many reasons why someone could crack or break a tooth, including the following:

  • Traumatic accident
  • Sudden blow to the mouth
  • Motor vehicle collision
  • A fall
  • Chewing on a piece of hard food or ice
  • Chewing on a pencil or pen cap
  • Playing sports without a mouthguard and suffering an injury
  • Chronic tooth grinding or clenching
  • Uneven chewing pressure

Some cracks are visible to the naked eye. Others cannot be seen, but cause sensitivity to heat and cold, as well as sweet or sticky foods. Cracks can also cause sharp, sudden pain when chewing or biting down. The concern with tooth cracks, even microscopic ones, is that if they are deep enough, they can irritate the dental pulp, the soft tissue containing the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.

Fixing a Cracked Tooth

Repairing a cracked or broken tooth depends on the extent and location of the damage.

A craze line, or tiny crack in the outer tooth enamel, can usually be fixed by applying dental bonding material to the tooth itself or placing a porcelain veneer over the tooth to mask the damage. In the case of a fractured cusp — i.e., when a portion of the tooth’s chewing surface breaks off — a filling or crown can be placed over the damaged tooth to restore it.

If the crack extends from the chewing surface down toward the root of the tooth, but the tooth is not separated into pieces, it should be fixed as soon as possible. A crown or other restoration can be placed to prevent the crack from spreading. If the crack extends into the dental pulp, root canal therapy may be needed.

A badly cracked tooth that has split or extends below the gum line cannot be saved, and should be extracted and replaced, possibly with a dental implant.

Contact Our Longmont Dentist

If you notice a crack in one of your teeth, or if you are experiencing sensitivity to heat or cold, you should schedule an exam with Dr. Farmer at your earliest convenience. Early intervention can save your tooth and prevent additional damage. Call or email us today to make an appointment.

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