Got a cracked tooth?
A cracked tooth is a very common condition and the main reason for tooth loss in developed countries.
It can happen as a result of :
Grinding your teeth at night.
Chewing on hard foods.
Teeth crack for several reasons, such as:
Pressure caused by tooth grinding.
Large fillings compromise the teeth's strength.
Biting or chewing hard items like hard candy, ice and nuts.
Blows to the mouth that could result from a fistfight, vehicle accident, sports injury, or other trauma.
Sudden changes in the mouth temperature
Age, most teeth cracks occur in people over 50
Not all cracked teeth produce symptoms. But when it does occur, typical symptoms include:
Pain when biting or chewing.
Sensitivity to sweetness, cold, or heat.
Discomfort that fluctuates but is rarely constant.
Swelling of gum around the affected tooth.
Individuals over 50 are more likely to get tooth cracks, and women experience them more frequently than males.
The length, depth, and position of tooth cracks can vary.
Craze lines, the tiniest cracks, form in the tooth enamel. A craze line is unlikely to be noticed by a person, and treatment is not required unless it results in symptoms.
Other types of teeth cracks include the following:
Oblique supragingival cracks
These don't go below the gum line and just affect the crown. Therefore they are typically not too painful.
Oblique subgingival cracks
These extend below the gum line, and they can be uncomfortable. To restore the tooth and expose the crown, treatment is required.
Split tooth crack splits the tooth in two. Most likely, a dentist will only be able to save one part, which will typically be restored with a crown. An individual may also need root canal treatment.
Oblique root cracks
The crack occurs below the gum line, most frequently below the jawbone. Typically, oblique root cracks do not appear on the tooth's surface.
The only treatment for oblique root cracks is tooth extraction.
A fractured cusp occurs when a part of the tooth's chewing surface breaks. The most common location of a fractured cusp is around a dental filling.
Vertical apical root cracks
Vertical apical root cracks begin at the tooth's root and progress towards the crown. The tooth may be required to be extracted due to the pain caused by this crack.
Complications related to a cracked tooth
An infection that can develop to the gums and bones is likely the biggest complication of a cracked tooth.
The following are some signs of a dental infection (also called a tooth abscess):
Sensitivity to cold and heat
Pain when chewing
Tender glands in the neck
When should one visit the dentist?
Anyone who thinks they may have a cracked tooth should schedule a visit with a dentist right away. It is crucial to take this action when there is pain and discomfort.
In the meanwhile, the following home remedies can ease unpleasant symptoms:
To keep the mouth clean, rinse with warm water.
To minimize the swelling, apply a cold compress to the cheek.
The longer that a cracked tooth is left untreated, the more difficult it will be for your dentist to save the tooth. Additionally, complications like infection could develop.
Dental procedures for a cracked tooth
Due to advanced technology, modern dentistry has solutions for most dental issues, including cracked teeth. If an individual has a cracked or broken tooth, all they need to do is visit the dentist right away. The dentist will guide them regarding the best course of action to treat the condition.
Your dentist may recommend one of the dental procedures listed below:
Prevention & Self-care
While a cracked tooth cannot be treated at home, it can be prevented.
Prevention steps are as follows:
Practice good oral hygiene as healthy teeth are less likely to crack. For preventive care, brush your teeth twice daily, floss daily, and see your dentist every six months.
Avoid biting or chewing on hard foods.
If you engage in contact sports or grind your teeth at night, you should wear a mouthguard.
If you suspect a cracked tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water and to reduce swelling apply a cold compress to your cheek