Unlike a chipped tooth, which you may be able to endure for years before deciding to fix, a cracked tooth likely won’t allow you to ignore it. Because of the nature of most tooth cracks, the discomfort is often severe, and can grow worse as the crack spreads and the pieces of your tooth separate. Depending on the extent of the fracture, your dentist may or may not be able save the tooth. Either way, the pain can indicate a serious vulnerability in your tooth’s structure. If your tooth is fractured, then you should seek restorative dental treatment as soon as possible.
Treatable tooth fracture
Each of your teeth consists of two main regions; the top part, or crown, rests above the gum line, while the root extends into the jawbone. A typical fracture extends vertically from the crown towards the root. Although the tooth remains in one piece, the crack can widen and spread, leading to tooth loss or the need for extraction if you don’t seek treatment promptly.
Non-treatable tooth fracture
If only the crown is cracked, your dentist can save the tooth with a dental crown after ensuring that the tooth is cleaned of infectious bacteria. If the fracture reaches the tooth’s root, however, then it may require an extraction to prevent damage to the surrounding jawbone. When a fracture is allowed to progress far enough, it may split the tooth into two distinct pieces, which also can’t be saved and will have to be removed.
A fractured tooth cusp
Cusps are the raised portions on a tooth’s chewing surface. When one of them breaks off, there may be little discomfort, since a fractured cusp doesn’t usually expose the tooth’s vulnerable pulp (mass of nerves and blood vessels). In some instances, though, the damage can leave a tooth sensitive to cold air and fluids, in which case your dentist can place a dental inlay or onlay on the tooth to relieve sensitivity and prevent further damage.
Learn More About How to Treat Your Fractured Tooth
If your tooth is fractured, then seeking immediate dental treatment will not only relieve the discomfort, but also help save your tooth from more serious dental health troubles. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in downtown Des Moines, IA, at (515) 244-9565.