Emergency dentistry is often focused on what happens when your tooth is fully knocked out of your mouth. But what if your tooth is just cracked? Does this carry the same weight?
A cracked tooth can cause serious damage if it isn’t properly treated. Woo Young Lee, DDS — and the rest of us here at Grace Dental Group — want to help you protect your teeth for years to come, which includes getting the proper treatment for a cracked tooth.
How cracked teeth happen
There are many causes of tooth accidents. According to the National Library of Medicine, some of the most common include slipping and falling, getting into an auto accident, being injured playing sports, or chipping your tooth on hard foods or other items.
It’s also important to recognize the type of crack you’re dealing with. A craze line, for example, is tiny and might not require treatment, while a split crack runs from the tooth’s surface to the gum line, creating more serious problems. It’s always best to have your provider look at the tooth after it cracks to determine its severity and any necessary treatment.
If you crack your tooth, you might pass it off as no big deal, but it can be severe without you even noticing. And even if it doesn’t, it can worsen with time. It’s always better to get a cracked tooth checked out as soon as you can.
Three dangers of cracked teeth
A cracked tooth can lead to other problems. Not to mention cutting your tongue or the inside of your mouth on a jagged edge, what you think of as a small crack can cause severe side effects if it isn’t taken care of quickly.
1. Sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure
When a tooth cracks, it can sometimes mean the tooth root becomes exposed. Even the smallest exposure can cause sensitivity and pain to things like hot and cold drinks or pressure on the tooth. You may experience pain with even the smallest amount of pressure, such as brushing your teeth.
2. Infection and abscesses
Again, when you crack a tooth, it can leave the pulp inside exposed, creating the possibility of an infection. Infections can be incredibly painful, not to mention dangerous, and often lead to more issues down the line.
For example, an abscess, which is pus that collects around your tooth root, can form. Abscesses do not go away independently and need to be treated by a dental provider. If an infection in the tooth goes untreated for too long, you can become septic and even die.
3. Further breaking and loss of the tooth
If you continue using your teeth as normal when you have a severely cracked tooth, it can crack more until it splits apart. And often, cracks that aren’t too bad at first can worsen with regular wear and tear.
Those who seek treatment for a cracked tooth early on can often save the tooth. But those who wait too long can end up chipping away at what’s left until the tooth is no longer salvageable.
Don’t wait; get help for a cracked tooth now
It’s always better to seek the help you need than to wait too long. Remember, cracked teeth never get better on their own.