Many people strive to maintain a great smile. However, when an accident occurs that results in a cracked or chipped tooth, it can cause a loss of self-confidence and lead to other uncomfortable symptoms. While discovering that you have a crack or chip can be concerning, know that treatment is available. Learn more about these two common conditions and how they are treated.
What Is a Cracked Tooth?
A cracked or fractured tooth has many causes, such as grinding, trauma, age, or other factors. Sometimes cracks can be small and harmless, while other times they can progress until the tooth breaks or splits. These cracks can affect some or all layers, including the enamel, dentin, and pulp.
Cracks most often occur on the top front teeth or the ones at the back of the lower jaw, known as the mandibular molars.
People with dental cavities are at a higher risk of developing fractures due to the weakened state of their teeth. Common symptoms of a cracked tooth include sensitivity, swelling, toothache, or pain that comes and goes.
How Is a Crack Treated?
Treatment for a cracked tooth is based on the extent of the damage. Bonding material can be used to fill in small fractures, while a crown can be fitted over a larger crack to prevent the damage from progressing. Other treatment options include a root canal to remove the damaged pulp. If the root and nerves have been affected, your dentist may recommend an extraction.
What Is a Chipped Tooth?
While tooth enamel may be one of the strongest substances in the body, it is still vulnerable to damage. Blows to the face, falls, and other trauma can cause a tooth to become chipped. Some people are more at risk for chips happening, including those who experience tooth decay, grinding, acid reflux, or eating disorders.
Chips on teeth can range from very small to noticeably large. You may feel a jagged surface when you run your tongue over the tooth or pain when biting down. It is also common to have symptoms like gum irritation around the chipped area or irritation of the tongue from “catching” it on the uneven or jagged surface.
How Is a Chip Treated?
Treatment for a chipped tooth is dependent on the size of the chip and whether it’s causing symptoms. You may not need treatment if you have a minor chip that doesn’t cause discomfort. Your dentist may recommend cosmetic contouring to smooth out the jagged surface. Larger chips may require a root canal if the damage has reached the pulp. The tooth is then capped with a crown to protect it from further damage.
Have You Damaged Your Tooth?
Cracked and chipped teeth are two common dental conditions that can often be remedied with the help of an experienced dentist.