Having a cracked tooth will make your teeth sensitive to cold and hot drinks or pain when chewing food and make you need a tooth infection treatment. This kind of pain comes and goes, which makes it very difficult for your dentist to discover it.
It is even more difficult when the crack is very small. Nevertheless, make sure you seek an appointment with your dentist if you feel that you have a cracked tooth if not, the problem will not go away but may lead to tooth abscess discomfort and further complications.
Trauma to the face, a sudden change in temperature, biting down on hard things such as ice or hard candy, and a large filling among many others could cause a cracked tooth.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Cracked Tooth?
Usually, a cracked tooth may not present with any symptoms as it may be harmless and you may not even realize you have one. But when the crack is deeper, it needs to be treated and it presents with symptoms such as-
- Pain that comes and goes
- Tooth sensitivity to cold and or hot drinks
- Pain when chewing food
- General discomfort
- Gums around the cracked tooth get swollen
How Is A Cracked Tooth Diagnosed?
Because a cracked tooth is sometimes not visible, diagnosis becomes a little bit uneasy for a dentist. However, the dentist uses your dental history, symptoms and a magnifying glass to help diagnose the crack.
In the course of the examination, your dentist may ask you to bite down on something to discover the pain source or check your gums for possible signs of irritation as cracked a tooth cause inflammation around the gums.
Your dentist may use a dental dye to help identify the crack. An instrument called a dental explorer could be used to figure out where the crack is.
Though an X-ray may not reveal where the crack is, it can identify any defect in the pulp which could be a sign of a cracked tooth.
How To Treat A Cracked Tooth
The treatment of a cracked tooth depends on the severity of the damage and the site of the crack.
Where the crack is very severe to the extent that the dental pulp is affected, your dentist may opt for a root canal treatment and where the tooth is severely cracked, tooth extraction may be performed.
Your dentist may carry out bonding using a plastic resin to fix the cracked tooth, use a crown to cover the cracked tooth or use a filling.
How To Prevent Having A Cracked Tooth?
Here are a few ways to save yourself from having a cracked tooth.
- Always wear a mouthguard during sporting and recreational activities
- Avoid biting down on hard things like ice.
- Avoid grinding or clenching and biting your teeth and gum
How Is An Exposed Nerve In A Tooth Treated or Killed
Just to briefly explain the pathophysiology of dental abscess. The tooth nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissues form the dental pulp tissue found in the root canal. They all work to keep the tooth alive. Trauma to the face, repeated dental procedures, grinding of the teeth and root canal infection can irritate the pulp tissue leading to inflammation which in turn causes pressure on the blood vessels and nerve.
Consequently, you begin to have a dying tooth nerve causing you pain and temperature sensitivity. However, if the source of the irritation is removed, the tooth can still be alive. But if the irritation lasted too long, you may be having a dead and infected tooth nerve which can cause an abscess to form.
Not to worry, your dentist will look at all the treatment options to save your abscessed tooth even if it is not vital anymore. Your dentist will refer you to a root canal dentist for a root canal treatment or in some cases a tooth extraction.
When you have an exposed tooth nerve, however, the routine treatment is a root canal treatment and when the exposure happens in a sterile condition, direct capping of the pulp will suffice in which case regular follow- up is required.
Whatever the case may be, allow your dentist to decide the best treatment suitable for your abscessed tooth as the professional in this case.
What Is The Best Treatment For A Broken Tooth Under A Crown?
The treatment of a broken tooth under a crown depends on the severity of the damage and your dentist will order for an X-ray to determine that.
If the broken tooth can be seen above the gum, then replacing the old dental crown with a new one is the best thing to do.
Where the tooth beneath the crown is broken completely, a root canal treatment is opted for as long as the normal function of the tooth can be restored or, there could be a need for tooth extraction and replacement with a dental implant.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Tooth Infection?
Having a cracked, chipped or broken tooth that is not treated can cause you a tooth infection in which case abscess forms.
The symptoms of tooth infection are-
- Swollen gums
- Increasing toothache that is throbbing in nature
- Sensitivity to cold and hot foods or drinks
- Difficulty in chewing, biting, or swallowing.
- Swollen lymph nodes under the neck and jaw
- Smelly breathe
Your dentist may drain the abscess, give you tooth abscess antibiotics or carry out a root canal treatment to save your tooth if it is badly infected. In severe cases, tooth extraction may be carried out.
Note that, an untreated tooth abscess could lead to very severe and life-threatening consequences, so you should see your dentist when you have symptoms of a tooth infection.
How To Manage A Dental Emergency
When faced with a dental emergency such as broken, cracked or knocked out tooth, do not panic. Know that the sooner you act, the better for you as that will help curtail the damage and reduce further complications.
Here are a few tips for managing a dental emergency.
If you happen to knock out your adult tooth, put it in between your cheek and see your dentist immediately.
If the knocked-out tooth is a milk tooth, do not try sticking it back into its place to avoid damaging the tooth root.
If the tooth is broken, preserve the tooth in milk and visit your emergency dentist as soon as possible.
Because the pain caused by a cracked tooth comes and goes, that does not only make you uncomfortable, it sometimes makes it a little bit difficult for your dentist to diagnose it.
Also, if the crack is small and does not cause pain, it can even be more difficult to discover the point of the crack.
Cracked tooth presents with general discomfort and swollen gums at the site of the crack. Your dentist may order for an X-ray, use a dental explorer, and use your dental history to diagnose and treat you based on the severity of the crack.
Treatment could be a root canal procedure or tooth extraction in very severe cases. Dental bonding, filling, or crown could also be used.
If you have an exposed nerve in a tooth, your dentist may refer you to a root canal dentist for a root canal procedure or carry out a tooth extraction in severe cases.
An untreated exposed tooth nerve can lead to tooth infection which presents with various uncomfortable symptoms and if left untreated, can lead to tooth infection.
Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics for your tooth infection, a root canal procedure, or tooth infection pending on the severity of the case.
In the face of a dental emergency, do not panic, rather, seek emergency dental care immediately to prevent further damage.