Say you take a fall or you bite down on something hard and crack your tooth. You may wonder whether or not you really need to seek out treatment or if you can live with a cracked tooth. Surely, provided that the crack isn’t serious, there’s no harm in just leaving it be, right?
This isn’t the case. While you can live with a cracked tooth the same way that you can just choose to not have a cavity filled, the ramifications can be severe. Your cracked tooth may not seem serious right now, but it can worsen over time, and even result in needing a tooth extraction if proper measures are not taken to treat it.
Here’s what you need to know about why you shouldn’t just live with a cracked tooth, the complications that can arise from ignoring cracked teeth, and what you can do to both prevent and treat cracked teeth. Let’s dive in!
The Dangers Of Trying To Live With A Cracked Tooth
When you crack a tooth, you’ll likely experience sharp, shooting pain and sensitivity that may dissipate over time, depending on the severity of the initial crack. If the pain goes away and the crack isn’t visible, it’s easy to assume that you can just live with a cracked tooth and that there’s no need to seek out treatment. Teeth are bones, right? Can’t a cracked tooth just heal on its own, the same way a typical broken bone would?
Cracked teeth aren’t like broken bones. Once you’ve cracked your tooth, it isn’t going to heal itself over time – it’s going to get worse. It’s important to seek out treatment as soon as possible after the initial crack, in order to prevent further damage and ensure that you can keep your tooth.
What Happens When You Ignore A Cracked Tooth
The longer that you live with a cracked tooth without having it treated, the more damage it can cause. This is because when you crack a tooth, the layer underneath your enamel which is called the pulp becomes irritated and distressed. Over time, the damage to the pulp of your tooth can become permanent.
As previously mentioned, cracked teeth don’t heal on their own; they worsen. Even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant crack can become larger and more extensive over time. This allows for infection to infiltrate your tooth – infection that can spread throughout your gums all the way down to your jawbone.
This infection can cause issues that necessitate treatments such as: abscesses, root canals, tooth loss, and antibiotics. Trying to live with a cracked tooth doesn’t just end up causing the pain to worsen, but it can also lead to gum disease and even the loss of your tooth.
What To Do When You Crack A Tooth
When you crack a tooth, there are several things that you can do prior to receiving treatment for it that will help to prevent further damage to your tooth. These include:
- Using the tooth as little as possible
- Using a saltwater rinse in order to keep your mouth clean
- Practicing good oral hygiene
- Protecting your tooth while you sleep, such as with a mouthguard
- Scheduling a visit with your dentist as soon as possible
In a way, you can live with a cracked tooth – while you are waiting for your scheduled appointment in order to have it treated and doing what you can to protect it until then. However, you can’t ignore a cracked tooth, as it’s crucial to have it treated as soon as possible for the good of your oral health.
Treatments For Cracked Teeth
There are many different ways that dentists treat cracked teeth. Usually, they’re not a big procedure, especially if the crack is small and you see a dentist as soon as you can after cracking your tooth. Left untreated, cracked teeth can necessitate more intensive treatment.
Treatments for cracked teeth include:
- Bonding. This is when a resin is used in order to both seal the crack and restore the look of your tooth.
- Crowns. Crowns can protect your teeth and prevent cracks from worsening.
- Root Canals. If your crack extends down into the pulp of your tooth, a root canal can save it by cleaning out the infection and then protecting it with a crown.
- Extractions. In serious cases, your cracked tooth may need to be extracted in order to prevent further damage.
David G. Johnson, DDS., is here to help with your cracked teeth. It can be very dangerous to try to just live with a cracked tooth, so it’s essential to seek out treatment as soon as possible in order to save your tooth and preserve your oral health. Contact us today to learn more about cracked teeth or to set up an appointment.