When you see someone with a cracked tooth, it makes a big impression. But believe me, that impression will not be a good one! If you encountered an accident that caused a cracked tooth, should you consider it as an emergency and have an emergency dentist attend to your needs? When is a tooth fracture considered a dental emergency, and how can one treat a cracked tooth?
Cracked tooth: What Causes It?
Whether we like it or not, there will be instances that can cause chipping or fracture of the tooth. Here are some of the common reasons why a tooth can crack or break.
- Pressure or force due to an accident or injury
- Tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Extensive fillings that weaken the tooth
- Chewing on hard food particles (candies, ice, nuts, etc.)
- Tooth decay from cavities
- Normal demineralisation of the teeth as we age
These causes may be prevented if we are aware of the effective ways of taking care of our teeth.
How to Prevent Getting A Cracked Tooth?
Tooth fracture may happen instantaneously, and without caution, so it is best to follow proper dental safety measures in order to somehow lessen the chances of tooth fracture.
Maintain your proper dental hygiene
The presence of tooth decay caused by cavities, plaque, and tartar build-up will worsen the damage that can be caused by a cracked tooth. You see, when you break or chip a tooth, the bacteria that are found in the plaque or cavities may seep through the cracks and infect the inner part of the tooth that houses the nerves and blood vessels necessary for the tooth’s survival. This can cause pain and infection that can affect not just our dental health but also our overall health as well. Maintain brushing your teeth at least twice a day, while adding flossing and mouth rinsing at least once a day to make sure that your teeth are free from these disease-causing bacteria.
Avoid Hard Foods
We may think that we have strong teeth, but with the wrong bite to a very hard food (candy, nut, or a piece of ice) can actually cause a chipped or cracked tooth. Make sure that you steer clear of these types of foods as much as possible so as to prevent accidental tooth fractures.
Wear a Protective Gear
Because a cracked tooth can be caused by active contact sports, many game officials are including mouthguards as part of their uniform. Wearing mouthguards will ensure that any accidental; blows to the face will be cushioned by these customised silicone or rubber guards.
Teeth grinding, though normally observed in young kids, can also be experienced by adults. When faced with this abnormal dental habit, dentists prescribe the use of night splints and mouthguards to protect the teeth from the grinding movement that patients do, especially when stressed or sleeping.
How do Dentists Address A Cracked Tooth?
You may think that if you do not exhibit cracked tooth symptoms, you do not need to consult your dentist about it. However, as an ideal way to address this cosmetic-looking but potentially functional dental issue, it is still best to go ahead and visit your dentist to make sure that this condition will not cause any further complications in the future. Here are some cracked tooth treatment options that your dentist may recommend depending on the extent of the tooth fracture.
If the tooth fracture is relatively small and only affects a very tiny surface of the tooth, the dentist may opt to just polish the cracked tooth to smoothen its surface, preventing your tongue, lip, or the inside of your cheek to be scratched.
Also intended to address small tooth fractures, putting dental fillings will seal the cracked tooth from any bacteria and allow the patient to use the tooth back to normal.
If the cracked tooth is on a noticeable location, your dentist may recommend placing a crown over the damaged tooth to mask the irregularity. This prosthesis makes your tooth look brand new. Allot a budget of about $1000 to $2000 per crown if this is your chosen restorative procedure.
Just like dental crown placement, if the front tooth is the one fractured, dentists may opt to put plastic or composite resin material and shape it to fit the original size and look of the cracked tooth. Expect that a dental bonding procedure may cost you between $100 to $1000 depending on the severity of the tooth fracture.
Root Canal Treatment
Minor tooth fractures may not be considered dental emergencies. Although a dentist must still be informed of their presence or incident, treatment and restorative procedures for a cracked tooth can wait until your dentist is available. However, if the fracture extends to the inner part of the tooth called the pulp, it is imperative that the patient goes straight to the nearest dental emergency clinic. This dental concern may or may not cause severe pain or discomfort, but it will surely increase the chances of the patient developing infection or further complications in the future. The emergency dentist should remove the pulp contents and seal the space so that bacteria cannot thrive inside the tooth. This surgery may cost you approximately $2000 for the whole procedure, excluding other fees. You can also inquire with your dental insurance provider about your dental coverage, as they commonly shoulder the expenses for this procedure.
If the cracked tooth is in its worst-case scenario, there is not much that an emergency dentist can do but to remove the tooth altogether. The damage, if not addressed as soon as possible, will, as mentioned earlier, cause further complications. And since the tooth fracture already damaged the crown and its internal structures, there is nothing more a dentist can do but to extract the tooth. Though the cost of this procedure would only cost you about $200 to $300 a tooth, restoring the look and function of your dental cavity may cost you even more. Your dentist may recommend getting dental restorative procedures to normalise the use of your teeth. Inquire about using dentures, dental bridges, or undergoing dental implant surgery so you can restore your smile and the function of your teeth.