How Can I Tell if My Tooth is Cracked?
Tooth enamel is designed to withstand lots of wear and tear and force. It's a tough substance, but it's not unbreakable. Biting down on a hard object or getting hit in the mouth while playing a sport are just a few examples of things that can cause a tooth to crack or break.
Although anyone can crack a tooth, it occurs most often in kids and older adults. If you think you might have a cracked tooth, keep an eye out for possible symptoms.
Signs of a Cracked Tooth
Whether you can tell if a tooth is cracked or not depends on the type of break and how severe it is. In some cases, you might have cracked a tooth but not have any symptoms. If you think you might have damaged a tooth but don't have any of the following signs, it can still be worthwhile to see an endodontist for an exam. They can examine the tooth and let you know if there's an issue.
If you noticed any of the following signs of a cracked tooth, an appointment with an endodontist is a must:
1. Increased Tooth Sensitivity
A cracked tooth can become more sensitive to heat or cold. When the tooth cracks, a small split or fracture in the enamel allows heat or cold to reach the pulp and nerves inside. They are likely to react to changes in temperature.
2. Pain When Chewing
You might have some pain when you crack a tooth, but the pain isn't likely to be constant. Instead, you'll most likely feel it when you move your teeth, such as during chewing.
Moving the teeth can cause the fractured enamel to move, which can irritate the soft tissue underneath. The irritated tissue is likely to cause discomfort. If the tooth doesn't get fixed quickly, the irritation can persist, causing long-term damage to the pulp.
3. Swelling Around the Tooth
If the crack is severe and left untreated for some time, it can become infected. The infection can then spread to other areas around the tooth, such as the gum and bone. One sign of infection due to a cracked tooth is swelling in the gums. The gums might feel tender to the touch or you might notice a small bump in the gums near the tooth.
How to Save a Cracked Tooth
An endodontist can save a cracked tooth. If you suspect that your tooth is cracked or fractured, the sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome is likely to be.
The treatment method an endodontist will use depends on the type of crack and its severity. If the tooth is fractured but the break doesn't extend to the pulp, an endodontist is likely to replace the broken part of the tooth with a crown or filling.
If the chewing surface of the tooth is cracked but the crack is still above the gum line, treatment might include a root canal and a crown, depending on the depth of the crack.
In some cases, such as when the crack extends beneath the gum line, your endodontist might need to remove the entire tooth. They can replace it with an implant and crown.