A cracked tooth can cause intense, immediate discomfort. Patients note a variety of symptoms, including erratic pain when chewing or when the tooth is exposed to temperature extremes. The pain in your tooth may come and go, so your dentist might have difficulty locating the source of trouble. When dental pain impacts your ability to go about your daily routine, it is time to seek out a professional opinion on how to prevent the problem from worsening and resolve the issue.
How To Prevent A Cracked Tooth
Over time, normal wear-and-tear can eventually cause cracks in a tooth. However, it is important to adopt healthy dental habits to avoid any unnecessary cracks or risk factors.
- Wear a mouth guard and/or face mask when participating in contact sports
- Avoid chewing on hard objects, like pens or pencils
- Do not chew on ice
- Do not chew on unnecessarily dense, hard foods (like un-popped popcorn kernels)
- Do not clench or grind your teeth
- Request a fitted mouth guard from your general dentist to help with clenching or grinding teeth in your sleep
- Maintain a rigorous, consistent regimen of brushing and flossing
You Cracked A Tooth: What Comes Next
To understand how to manage your cracked tooth, you should first have an understanding of a tooth’s anatomy. Our teeth consist of several layers. The outermost layer, which comes into direct contact with food when chewing, is the enamel. Patients are sometimes surprised to learn that enamel is the hardest surface in the human body (even harder than bone!). Below the enamel is dentin, a form of dense and bony tissue. Beneath the dentin sits the dental pulp, which includes the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Pain typically indicates that a patient’s dental pulp has been irritated, injured, or infected.
A general dentist will sometimes use a CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) scan to help him or her diagnose a potential crack. An endodontist is usually brought into the conversation to confirm the extent of any potential damage and prescribe an appropriate treatment plan moving forward. Unlike bones, teeth do not heal themselves over time. Leaving a cracked tooth untreated often results in additional damage or even the loss of that tooth completely. An endodontist can help you determine how to prevent a crack from deepening and help save the pulp from infection.
During root canal therapy, the endodontist removes problematic pulp and cleans the area thoroughly. He or she then shapes, fills, and seals the area to keep bacteria out. Root canal therapy and a crown will relieve pain and defend against further complications, but the crack will never be fully closed.
Timely treatment from trained specialists, like Dr. Harris and the team at East Coast Endodontics, can help if you are suffering from dental pain. Schedule a professional consultation today.