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What to Do When You Have a Cracked Tooth?

A fractured tooth is never fun. The pain that comes with a crack in your tooth can range depending on the kind of tooth fracture it is, but it’s still a very uncomfortable experience.

There are many ways a patient can get a cracked tooth, and it doesn’t always involve a physical accident. You can crack your tooth by:

  • Chewing on something hard, like a rock
  • Hard grinding on your teeth, or bruxism
  • Physical impact, like getting hit in the face
  • Untreated cavities that weaken the tooth
  • Old mercury/silver amalgam fillings that can expand and act like a wedge to crack the tooth

Do I need to see a dentist for a cracked tooth?

These things can hardly ever be fixed at home, and a fracture can indicate that there may be a larger problem than just the cracked enamel. It’s important that as soon as you notice any pain, like a toothache, that you see your dentist right away.

However, sometimes, if the crack is purely cosmetic, there may be no need for a dental visit. Known as craze lines, you might just have a scratch on your enamel (similar to a scratch on a car) that may not cause you any pain. You could get the lines polished and buffed by your dentist if appearance is a concern.

If my tooth hurts, what can I do to ease the pain before I see the dentist?

If seeing your dentist the same day you notice the pain is not possible, there are a few things you can do in the meantime to deal with the pain:

  • Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the pain is
  • Use a straw to drink liquids
  • Apply pressure to the area by biting down on cloth, paper towels, or a tea bag
  • Use dental cement (available at general retailers) to seal the crack temporarily
  • Take your choice of pain relievers
  • Call your dentist’s office for more help

If the pain is too unbearable, you always have the choice of visiting the ER or urgent care for stronger options. While they may not be able to treat the fracture, they can manage the symptoms until you see your dentist or endodontist.

What is treatment like for a fractured tooth?

Every cracked tooth is different, so there are a variety of treatment options a dentist may use in your specific case.

In some instances, a filling material may be used if it’s just a chipped tooth. However, if the crack goes deep into the enamel, and the pulp of the tooth may be exposed, a root canal or a crown may be necessary. If it seems that the pulp may not be in danger, then your dentist may suggest a porcelain onlay (sometimes referred to as a partial crown) instead.

Ready to explore options for your fractured tooth? Schedule an appointment with our Long Beach dental office online, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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