While your teeth can handle up to 70 pounds of pressure, they are not invincible. If you bite down on something too hard or receive an injury to the jaw area, a tooth can crack, exposing the sensitive roots inside. This is usually very painful and opens your roots up to bacteria that can cause severe infections in the teeth and gums. If you have a cracked tooth, you may be wondering what to do about it. Will it heal on its own like a broken bone? The team at American Dental has some information for you about cracked teeth and what to do if you have one.
Causes of Cracked Teeth
Generally, if a tooth cracks, it is because of excessive pressure being applied to it. The most common causes of cracked teeth include:
- Injuries or trauma to the jaw
- Biting on hard objects or using your teeth as a tool to open bottles, etc
- Bite issues (i.e. overbite, underbite, or cross-bite)
- Tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Sudden temperature changes of food or liquids in the mouth
- Weakened tooth enamel
What To Do About a Cracked Tooth
Unlike bones, which are made of living tissue, tooth enamel and dentin cannot heal on their own. Any injuries or cracks you receive to your teeth are permanent and must be dealt with immediately if you hope to save your tooth. Depending on the severity of your tooth injury, various treatments will be considered.
For minor cracks that have not reached the root, a procedure known as dental bonding can stabilize the tooth. A tooth-colored dental resin will be used to fill the crack, allowing it to function normally and preventing bacteria from getting inside. If the crack is more severe or cannot be stabilized using dental bonding, your dentist may recommend a crown. In this procedure, your tooth will be ground down until the damaged area is removed, then a crown will be placed on top of it to stabilize it and prevent any further issues. The crown looks, feels, and performs just like your natural teeth, so you probably won’t even notice the difference.
In cases where the crack has reached the tooth root, you will most likely lose your tooth unless you get a root canal. In a root canal, any damaged root material will be removed and replaced with a filling or with dental resin to prevent infections that will cause the tooth to rot from the inside out. Once the root canal is completed, your tooth should function normally.
Emergency Dentistry in Chicago
If you notice pain, sensitivity, or a visible crack in your tooth, be aware that it is absolutely an emergency and must be dealt with as soon as possible or you could lose that tooth forever. At American Dental, we provide emergency dentistry in Palos Heights and other Chicagoland communities. Click the “Make an Appointment” button at the top of this page to find a list of our 8 Chicago area locations and call or schedule online to reserve your appointment today!