It’s not uncommon to have a tooth crack — sometimes out of nowhere — especially as we age. The severity of a cracked tooth can range from a dental emergency (the tooth has cracked in half) to very minor (what we refer to as “craze lines” or teeny tiny cracks in the enamel of the tooth).
When determining how soon you should get a cracked tooth fixed, it’s important to take into account the severity of the situation. Of course, if your tooth has cracked in half, we want you to call our office immediately. Failing to treat a serious dental problem can make the situation so much worse. If you’re dealing with some kind of dental emergency, contact Inspire Dental Wellness right away!
Let’s talk a little bit more about how and why cracks can occur in the first place, then we’ll discuss treatment options.
How Does it Happen?
Probably the most common scenario that causes a cracked tooth is biting down on something that’s too hard. For example, biting into ice, unpopped popcorn kernels, pens, or hard candy can cause a cracked tooth or molar pretty easily. Sports injuries are also very common, especially if you’re not wearing a mouthguard.
Sometimes, the crack comes about due to more gradual wear and tear. This is especially common amongst people who clench and/or grind their teeth. This behavior tends to lead to cracks over time. As we mentioned earlier, craze lines can happen as we age. This is totally normal, and typically, they don’t cause pain and we can just leave them be.
How to Know if You Have a Cracked Tooth
For many patients, sensitivity or pain while chewing is the first sign of a cracked tooth. Sometimes this pain is only obvious when you drink hot or cold liquids. If this happens, it’s important to try to avoid using that part of your mouth to chew so that further damage doesn’t happen.
In really severe cases, you may feel pain constantly, even when you’re not eating or drinking anything. If you have pain like this, you want to call or stop in as soon as possible so we can take a look and recommend a treatment option right away.
Some people with a cracked tooth do not feel any pain at all. Maybe you can see little cracks in your teeth in the mirror, but they aren’t impacting your life in any way. In this case, it’s usually fine to wait until your next check-up (which is never more than six months away!)
How Do We Treat Cracks?
Unlike a broken bone, a cracked tooth will not heal, even with intervention. Therefore, it’s important to have your dentist examine the tooth and recommend a treatment option that will allow you to function normally again.
For many people with moderate to serious cracks, a crown or a root canal is likely the best option. In some very extreme cases, the tooth may need to be extracted completely.
Minor cracks may only present a cosmetic concern, and we can always discuss your options if you decide you want to proceed down that path. Often we can make these “craze lines” less noticeable by polishing your teeth during your regular check-ups.
Do You Think You Have a Cracked Tooth?
There’s no long-term effects once we fix your tooth. You’ll be chewing normally again in no time! There will be no long-term issues to worry about. Most people will never know that you had a cracked tooth at all!
Do you have a cracked tooth or pain that you’re not sure about? We can take a look and let you know what we suggest. Give the team at Inspire Dental Wellness at 708-460-6699 or click here to request an appointment with us!