Repairing Chipped Or Broken Teeth
How Do You Chip or Crack Your Teeth?
Enamel, which covers your teeth and is the hardest substance in your body, has its limits. If you chew on hard candy, ice, bite down hard, receive a blow to your face, or grind your teeth in your sleep, your teeth can chip or crack. Poor hygiene and cavities can also weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to being chipped or cracked. You may not even feel any tooth pain when you chip a tooth unless it’s large enough to expose the inner layer of your tooth. A cracked tooth might only affect the enamel, and it would not feel painful unless you bite down hard or when the temperature in your mouth changes. Many times you won’t be able to see a crack with the naked eye. This is why it’s so important to schedule regular appointments with Dr. Bell, because he will be able to find problems before they become painful.
What Types Of Broken Or Chipped Teeth Would Dr. Bell Recommend Fixing?
Craze lines are tiny cracks in the outer layer of your enamel only. They’re very common in adults. They are extremely shallow and they don’t cause pain. While not cosmetically pleasing, they’re not dangerous. Craze lines do not require treatment.
A fractured cusp is a fracture at the point of a tooth on the chewing surface. A cusp can become weakened and either break off on its own or it may need to be removed by Dr. Bell. Removing it usually relieves the pain. Fractured cusps rarely damage the pulp of your tooth, so root canal treatment is usually not necessary. To repair the tooth back to normal, Dr. Bell may recommend a crown.
With cracked teeth, some cracks extend all the way from the chewing surface down into the root of your tooth. Depending on the position of the crack, damage to the pulp can happen. In many cases, Dr. Bell would recommend root canal treatment to fix a cracked tooth.
A split tooth happens when a tooth is cracked and, over time, the crack progresses until the tooth eventually splits into two separate parts. Depending on the gravity of the split, Dr. Bell may not be able to save the tooth intact. Depending on the position and extent of the crack, he will determine whether part of the tooth can be saved with a crown or another restorative procedure.
Vertical root fractures are cracks that begin in the root of a tooth. Because the fracture line may not be visible, Dr. Bell has to pay special attention to your symptoms in order to identify if you have one. Vertical root fractures are some of the most difficult fractures to identify. They are often fixed through endodontic treatment. It is sometimes possible to save part of the tooth, but in many cases the tooth needs to be removed.
How To Prevent Cracked or Chipped Teeth
It is difficult to completely prevent chipped or cracked teeth because almost everyone ends up with it eventually. Here are a few ideas that Dr. Bell suggests to prevent unnecessary damage:
- Don’t chew on ice, popcorn kernels, pens, hard candy, or other hard objects.
- Don’t clench or grind your teeth.
- If you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, speak with Dr. Bell about getting a retainer or mouthguard.
- Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
If you would like a closer examination of your teeth, give us a call to schedule a consultation. Call us at (314) 739-5600 or send us an email.