Crack Tooth Steps
Many situations bring people into our office with cracked teeth. Perhaps you were eating something hard and felt it crack, or maybe you were playing sports, and the tooth was injured. Regardless of the reason for the crack, the steps taken after a tooth breaks are important. Teeth that are chipped or cracked are weaker than other teeth, leaving them susceptible to further damage. Dr. Rami Sater, an Arlington, TX area dentist, shares his tips for what to do if you experience cracked teeth.
While our teeth are extremely hard and durable, when damage occurs, it is important to seek dental care as soon as possible. In the meantime, take the following steps:
- Keep any pieces that may have separated to give to the dentist
- Use a warm salt water rinse
- If you are experiencing pain, you may use over-the-counter pain relievers
- Protect sharp edges with dental wax or sugarless gum
- Consume soft foods
Once in the office, repairing the cracked tooth will depend on the extent of the damage. Small chips can often be repaired with dental bonding. These restorations are made of composite resin and can be color matched to blend in with the natural tooth. For larger cracks or ones located on back teeth, a filling may be used.
Dental veneers are another option for fractured teeth. The thin porcelain is bonded to the front of the tooth for a brand new appearance.
If there is a large piece cracked off the tooth, or the tooth has decay, a dental crown may be recommended. This cap will strengthen the weakened tooth to protect it from further breakage. Dental crowns are made of porcelain and can be matched to look like adjacent teeth.
In some cases, the break may extend down to the pulp chamber of the tooth, exposing the nerves and blood vessels. If you are experiencing intense or shooting pain, this may be the case. When the pulp of the tooth has been compromised, root canal therapy will be necessary to remove the damage. The tooth will then be cleaned, sealed, and then covered with a crown.