Tooth enamel makes the hardest tissue in our entire body; however, it is not indestructible. People may experience cracked or chipped teeth due to reasons like biting down on almonds, an ice chunk, or some other hard food item. When you have a chipped tooth, you need to know how the injury can be managed to preserve the tooth as well as prevent any infections or serious pain.
A chipped tooth should always be given proper medical attention at the earliest rather than leaving it untreated. Following are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding cracked or chipped teeth:
1. How does a tooth break?
There are several ways teeth can break, including the following:
- Biting down on a hard food item or ice
- Being hit in your mouth or face
- Using teeth for ripping tags off clothing, for holding things when hands are full, and the likes
- Having untreated cavities weakening teeth
- Having old, large amalgam fillings not supporting the rest of the tooth’s enamel
- Clenching or grinding teeth
2. What are the Types of Cracks?
Vertical Root Fracture
Vertical root fracture begins at the root and progresses along the chewing surface of the tooth. The symptoms are not noticeable, making the problem easy to disregard or ignore. These types of fractures can be saved by endodontic procedures, but only a portion of a tooth is likely to be saved. In cases that are more problematic, the whole tooth may need extraction.
When you leave a cracked tooth untreated, it can often result in a split tooth. A split tooth looks like a crack having two distinct segments. With endodontic treatment, only a part of the natural tooth can be saved.
Vulnerable or weakened cusps of tooth may result in fractures eventually. The cusp is removed by a dentist or it breaks off.
This sort of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth, towards the root vertically. In more complicated cases, a tooth crack can even reach below gum line. Pulp may become irritated and even damaged permanently. A root canal may be suitable in such a case.
3. What Happens if a Chipped Tooth is left Untreated?
A cracked tooth requires medical attention as early as possible. Without professional treatment, a cracked or chipped tooth can be susceptible to infection which will only worsen over time. The infection can reach the head and neck, leading to many types of health problems. Although rare, chipped tooth can prove to be life-threatening.
Visit your dentist if you chip your tooth to reduce the pain as well as ensure that the chip does not cause additional problems.
4. Why Visiting a Dentist is Important?
Even if you have no considerable pain, no symptoms, or minor symptoms, it’s necessary for a dentist to analyze your chipped tooth for preserving your oral health. If timely treatment is not obtained at a dental clinic, the pain may linger. Removal of the affected tooth may also be a solution. A cracked tooth may not cause immediate pain; however, it can lead to an infection setting in and compromising not only your oral health but also your overall health.
In case the tooth becomes sensitive to heat, changes color or hurts, the tooth’s pulp portion might be seriously damaged. A dentist’s trained eyes are needed to find if there is any damage in the root or a possible infection. Infection can be caused if the crack is a severe one exposing the pulp of the tooth.
The part of the tooth called pulp contains nerves and blood vessels. It’s possible for bacteria moving into the mouth to reach the pulp and lead to an infection. Pulp tissue may die because of the chip.
5. What are the Treatment Options?
In case chipping your tooth leads to compromised dental pulp, a root canal treatment will be required for removing the infected tissue and applying a sealing. However, a root canal treatment will not be necessary in some cases. The way of repair and treatment for chipped tooth depends on the degree of damage.
Minor breaks, cracks or chips can be repaired with dental filling or bonding. Large breaks are likely to need a dental crown. In case only a small part of enamel is missing, a viable repair option is a filling. If the front of a tooth has a crack, a dentist would use dental bonding for the repair.
6. How to Reduce Discomfort until you Meet a Dentist?
You can do certain things by yourself for reducing the discomfort of chipped tooth until you visit a dentist. Rinse your mouth with salt water. Lower pain by taking a pain relief medication. Cover the chip’s sharp portion using dental wax. In case dental wax is not available, apply sugar-free gum over the sharp edge. Take only soft foods in your diet and avoid biting down until you visit a dentist.
If you ever experience a chipped tooth, consider seeking a dentist’s attention at the earliest. A dentist can not only help you with prompt dental chip repair but also guide you on chipped tooth care.
Des Moines Dental Group has experienced dentists with expertise in chipped tooth remedy. If you are thinking about how to treat a chipped tooth, our dentists can provide you the right chipped tooth solutions. Book an appointment online at our dental office today or give us a call!