It’s no joke when you crack a tooth. Usually, it happens in the worst place at the worst time.
Of course, it also depends on how severe the crack is. Sometimes, it’s just that the enamel has been chipped and despite having received trauma to the face, the pain isn’t severe. You can also still manage without needing immediate dental care.
Other times, the trauma can be much more severe. The tooth could be loose or out altogether or it’s been fractured all the way down to the root. In those cases, seeking immediate attention is necessary.
Depending on the severity, you’ll be provided with some options for your cracked tooth. Let’s go over them now.
Craze lines are vertical and/or horizontal cracks in the enamel. They are superficial. This type of cracked tooth does not cause any kind of pain or sensitivity.
If you are seeing them, there’s no need to see your dentist immediately but do make sure you mention them to him or her during your next visit. Your dentist may recommend night guard veneers.
Also, stay away from chewing on ice or other hard substances. They can worsen the cracks.
An enamel fracture is a small chip on the edge of your tooth. It can also mean an irregularly shaped tooth or just a sharp edge. This type of cracked tooth also won’t cause any pain or sensitivity. You will most likely feel it only when you run your tongue over it or if your lip hits it.
While not an emergency, you should make an effort to visit your dentist at your earliest convenience. In the meantime, if the sharpened edge bothers you, place wax over the area.
When you visit your dentist he or she will most likely smooth the enamel. They might also use a Composite Resin filling. If the fracture is large, he or she might recommend a veneer.
Enamel and Dentin Fractures
Enamel and dentin fractures are cracked, fractured, or chipped teeth with light or darker yellow/broken components. Often, these types of cracked teeth will result in some sensitivity.
It can range from no pain at all to sensitivity to cold, air, sweets, and sometimes even heat. When this happens, visit your dentist within 48 hours of it happening. Go sooner if you’re feeling sensitivity or pain.
If you don’t go seek attention, it can lead to injury or even death to the nerve of your tooth. It can also lead to an infection.
Before you visit your dentist, rinse with warm water. Avoid extremes in temperature and make sure any foods you eat are soft. If you need to, it’s okay to take OTC pain meds like Tylenol.
When you visit your dentist, he or she will most likely recommend a filling or a full or partial crown.
Enamel, Dentin, and Pulp Fractures
These types of fractures mean you have a cracked, broken or fractured tooth that has light, dark and red components. You’ll also notice with these types of fractures that you will be in a lot of pain.
You’re at risk for infection and you’ll most likely be experiencing swelling. If this happens to you, call your dentist immediately.
If you need to eat or drink anything before you go, eat soft foods or just a liquid diet. Take an OTC pain reliever, like Tylenol or an anti-inflammatory to reduce pain and swelling.
Do not wait. Going even 24 hours without medical attention could result in infection and the loss of your tooth. Depending on the severity of your fracture, your dentist may recommend anything from a root canal or a filling to a full or partial crown. In extreme cases, it may be best to extract the tooth.
Horizontal and Root Fractures
When horizontal and root fractures occur, they’re not usually something a non-professional can spot themselves. But you can sure feel it. You’ll notice persistent, increasing pain to hot, cold, and pressure.
Call your dentist right away if you’re feeling extreme pain and are noticing an inflammatory reaction. In the meantime, stick to soft foods and only consume items with mild temperatures.
Take an anti-inflammatory before you visit your dentist. He or she may recommend you see an endodontist. Splinting the root segments or removing part of the root may be necessary.
A tooth concussion is often just as hard to tell as a brain concussion is. That’s because your tooth looks normal. Your only sign may be that bleeding from the gumline occurs.
You might notice it’s tender to the touch and loose but not displaced. However, if this happens, you should visit a dentist or endodontist within 24 hours. Otherwise, you could end up with a dead tooth nerve.
Before seeing your dentist, avoid hot and cold foods and beverages as well as chewing in that area. Take a Tylenol if there’s any pain.
For this cracked tooth issue, you may need a root canal as well as a crown or a veneer. They’ll also be testing and observing the injured tooth and its surrounding areas for nerve and other types of damage. There’s also the possibility of splinting.
For this type of cracked tooth, it can be one of the following. A sublimation which means your tooth is loose but not displaced. Extrusions are elongated while lateral luxations are angled laterally. Meanwhile, intusions are pushed further into the bone while appearing shorter.
Depending on the severity and which type of displaced tooth you have, you can expect to feel normal, numb or experience some pain. The tooth’s surrounding tissue may be swollen, lacerated, or even bleeding.
When this occurs, you tooth nerve might die. Please visit your dentist immediately. In the meantime, stick with soft foods, avoid temperatures, and don’t chew on that side.
If the pain and/or swelling is too bad, take a Tylenol and apply a cold compress to the adjacent soft tissue. Both extrusions and lateral luxations need to be treated within a few hours. You can wait 24 hours to receive attention from the other conditions.
In most cases, the tooth will have to be repositioned and/or flexible splinting may be needed. It depends on the diagnosis.
Call Your Dentist When You’re in an Emergency
Not all dentists have emergency hours. We do. We offer our emergency services six days a week. We’re open until 8 pm on weekdays and 5 pm on Saturdays.
Emergencies don’t wait until it’s a good time. Count on us to help you out during a dental emergency.