Have you ever felt pain in a tooth while eating or after drinking something too hot or cold? If this has happened to you a few times, you might have a cracked tooth. Pain from a cracked tooth is typically intermittent making it difficult for a dentist to locate especially if it is small. A cracked tooth may not cause any pain or discomfort and could even be symptom-less leaving the patient without any knowledge of the crack. Lexington, KY dentist, Dr. Doyle Freano recommends that you contact him if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort while eating particularly when your release the bite
- Pain or discomfort when teeth are exposed to hot or cold
- Intermittent pain (not continuous like a cavity or infection)
- Possible swelling around the tooth
What to do if I have a cracked tooth
It is very important to call Dr. Freano if you show any signs or symptoms of a cracked tooth. Having it treated as soon as possible will prevent further dental problems from developing. If the crack is deep enough, it can lead to an infection that can spread to the bone and gums. Dr. Freano may recommend no treatment if it is just a hairline fracture in the tooth’s enamel and it’s not producing pain or affecting the aesthetics of your smile.
At your appointment at our Lexington, KY dentist office, Dr. Freano will perform a visual examination of your teeth. To locate the crack, he may need to take x-rays or use a magnifying glass to get a better view of your teeth. There are several different types of cracked teeth he may discover.
- Fractured Cusp: This is when a piece of the chewing surface of the tooth has broken off. It is typically seen around dental fillings. This type of crack does not usually cause pain.
- Split Tooth: This is when a tooth is literally split or close to splitting into two. The tooth may or may not be saved. Dr. Freano will try to save half of the tooth but if it’s not possible then the entire tooth will need to be extracted.
- Vertical Root Crack: This type of crack begins below the gum line, in the root of the tooth and extends upward. This is difficult to fix and will most likely need extracted.
- Craze Lines: These are very tiny cracks that appear in the tooth’s enamel. They do not cause pain and do not need to be treated.
- Crack that extends into gum line: A vertical crack that extends below the gum line requires prompt treatment to save the tooth and relieve the pain.
- Crack that does not extend into gum line: A vertical crack that does not extend below the gum line is usually not painful and the tooth can be saved.
Cracked Tooth Repair
- Dental Bonding: Dr. Freano will use a simple tooth-colored filling for minor cracks and tooth damage.
- Dental Filling: If decay is present, Dr. Freano will use a resin dental filling to fix the damage. If the crack is near a dental filling, he may need to remove the filing to inspect the damage.
- Dental Crown: Dr. Freano will most likely use a dental cap to save the tooth from further damage and give it strength if the crack is above the gum line.
- Root Canal: If the crack has extended into the pulp chamber of the tooth, he may need to perform a root canal to save the tooth. Dr. Freano will cap the tooth with a dental crown to restore the tooth after the root canal.
- Tooth Extraction: When cracks are in the root of the tooth or if the tooth is split beyond repair, it will most likely need to be extracted.