Often the first sign of a broken or cracked tooth is when we notice something a bit too crunchy in our food, or when our tongues find the sharp part of the broken tooth.
A tooth may show no symptoms of being cracked other than sensitivity when biting or sensitivity to cold food and drinks.
Sometimes we are unaware of the cracks in our teeth until one day, when we are eating something relatively soft, the side of the tooth suddenly breaks off.
A cracked tooth will not necessarily cause any symptoms. People often have cracked teeth without realizing it.
Any pain associated with a cracked tooth tends to come and go. This can make it more difficult for a dentist to identify the problem, especially if it is minimal.
Cracked teeth are reasonably common in teeth that have old amalgam fillings.
The metal in these fillings contract and expand with the food that we eat putting pressure on the remain tooth structure.
Cracks can also be caused by crunching on hard food such as nuts and ice, or by accidental impacts.
Anyone who suspects that they have a cracked tooth should make an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible.
Leaving a cracked tooth untreated may lead, over time, to more problems, pain, and discomfort. It is better to go to a dentist before the cracked tooth breaks.
Depending on the size and direction of the crack, a composite filling that helps bond the tooth together is all that is required. More severely cracked teeth may require a crown.
Patients who wait until the crack causes the tooth to break may find that too much tooth structure has been lost and the tooth is no longer restorable.
Symptoms of Cracked Tooth
Some types of damage are harmless and do not necessarily require treatment.
However, if a person experiences the following signs, they may have more extensive damage that needs dental treatment:
- pain when chewing or biting
- swollen gums around the cracked tooth
- teeth that have suddenly become sensitive to sweetness and hot or cold foods
- pain that comes and goes
- discomfort around the teeth and gums that is hard to distinguish
Causes of a Cracked Tooth
There are many different causes of cracked teeth.
The causes of a broken tooth may include:
- eating hard food such as nuts and ice
- excessive teeth grinding
- physical injury
- a large existing filling, which can weaken the remaining tooth structure
If you tooth has broken due to an undiagnosed crack, physical injury or if your existing filling has come out, there is no cause to panic.
Keep the area as clean as possible and avoid eating cold or hot food as it may be sensitive.
Try not to chew any food with that tooth as you don’t wan t any more tooth structure to break. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can reasonably mange.
When should you see a dentist?
Anyone who suspects that they have a cracked tooth should make an appointment with a dentist immediately. It is important to do so whenever pain and discomfort are present.
For the meantime, the following home remedies can relieve uncomfortable symptoms:
- rinse the mouth with warm water to keep it clean
- take over-the-counter pain medications
- use a cold compress against the cheek to reduce swelling in soft tissue
The longer a broken or cracked tooth goes untreated, the more difficult it may be for a dentist to save the tooth. Complications may also occur, such as infection.
Broken or Cracked Tooth Prevention
Broken teeth are not always preventable, but a few strategies can help.
- avoid hard to chew foods, such as hard candy and pork crackling and be careful to avoid un-popped popcorn kernels
- put an end to habits that may break the teeth, such as grinding or biting on pens
- try not to clench teeth
- wear a mouthguard to shield the teeth while playing sports
If a person has bruxism (teeth grinding), they may wish to talk to their dentist about wearing a mouthguard at night.
Broken Tooth Treatment at Passion Family Dental North Lakes
At Passion Family Dental North Lakes, we provide fast and effective emergency dental care for any patient in pain.
Custom-made Mouthguards for only $179
If you want to schedule an appointment with your North Lakes dentist, call us at (07) 3465 1199.
We are located at Unit 4/6 Endeavour Boulevard in North Lakes.