What are the main reasons for fractured teeth?
Fractured teeth can occur when a tooth is weakened by cavities and decay or degeneration of old fillings, or tooth injury. A tooth can also fracture if it has an extensive filling or severe tooth decay.
Tooth fractures also occur as a result of traumatic injuries, such as falls and car accidents, or from biting down on something hard, such as ice. In some people, teeth may repeatedly crack due to a developmental abnormality. Cracked teeth can also occur from a sports-related injury and from grinding or clenching your teeth. Over time, the constant pressure exerted on your teeth by teeth grinding can cause them to weaken and eventually break.
What are the signs and symptoms of tooth fractures?
The following signs and symptoms may indicate a tooth fracture:
- Pain when biting
- Sharp pain when chewing
- Pain when your tooth is exposed to cold or hot foods or drinks
- Pain when your tooth is exposed to pressure
- Increased sensitivity
- Loose or broken teeth
- Chipping or loss of tooth structure
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Why is it important to repair a fractured tooth?
Repairing a fractured tooth is necessary to protect the tooth from further breakage. If the tooth is cracked, the crack can extend to the pulp, which is the inner part of the tooth that houses the nerves and provides nutrients to the tooth. If this occurs, the tooth may die and may need to be extracted.
Besides, when a cracked tooth is left untreated, it can put your remaining teeth at risk for further damage, which can lead to additional treatment such as root canal therapy.
An untreated, cracked tooth can cause other health issues such as:
- Sensitivity to cold or heat
- Gum recession
- Loss of tooth structure
- Periodontal disease (gum disease)
- Tooth loss
- Bone loss
- Jaw problems
- Change in occlusion/bite
How is a cracked tooth repaired?
The location and severity of the crack dictate how the tooth will be repaired. If the crack extends below the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted. However, if the crack is not extensive, the tooth may be restored with a filling, crown, or bridge. If the crack is less than a hairline fracture, the tooth is usually restored with a full crown. If the crack runs from the chewing surface of the tooth vertically toward the root, the tooth is typically restored with a crown. If only the chewing surface of the tooth has cracked, the tooth can be restored with veneers or a crown.
To learn more, visit us at Helena, MT or call us at (406) 443-6160 to schedule an appointment with the dentist and we will be happy to help.