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Routine Treatment

Cracked teeth

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    Cracked teeth

    What is a cracked tooth?

    A cracked tooth is a tooth that has become broken.

    Do all teeth crack in the same way?

    No. Teeth can crack in several different ways:

    Why do teeth crack?

    Many things can cause teeth to crack; such as:

    How can I tell if I have a cracked tooth?

    The signs can be difficult to spot and the symptoms varied. You may get pain from time to time when you are chewing, especially when you release the biting pressure. Extreme temperatures, especially cold, may cause discomfort, or you may be sensitive to sweetness, but with no signs of decay. Swelling may be limited to a small area near to the affected tooth.

    If the pain is severe, take pain relief. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication.

    Why don’t cracks show up on a dental x-ray?

    Unfortunately, dental x-rays sometimes don’t show up the cracked tooth.  This is because the x-ray beam must be parallel to the crack before it can penetrate it.

    However, sometimes other signs of a crack may show up. With a vertical root fracture, if the crack has been there long enough, vertical bone loss near to the root can be seen. Your dentist may use a bright light or a magnifying glass to find the crack. They may also use a special dye to follow the course of the crack.

    Will I need to have treatment?

    Yes. It is important to get advice as soon as possible to help the treatment be more effective. If they are not treated, cracked teeth can lead to the death of the nerve, and an abscess might grow that could need root canal treatment or extraction. In severe cases the tooth can actually split in two.  If this happens your dentist will not be able to save the tooth and it will need to be taken out.

    Will I lose my tooth?

    In some cases, the tooth may need to be taken out, but not always. It is important therefore to get advice as soon as possible.

    How are cracked teeth fixed?

    The choice of treatment depends on the amount of damage to the tooth.  You should ask your dentist what the best treatment for you is.

    After treatment for a cracked tooth, will my tooth completely heal?

    Unlike broken bones, the crack in a tooth will never heal completely. After treatment, a crack may get worse and you could still lose the tooth. It is still important that you get treatment because most cracked teeth can work normally for years after treatment. Your dentist will be able to tell you more about your particular problem and recommended treatment.

    Can I stop my teeth cracking?

    Not altogether, but there are some precautions you can take:

    How much will my treatment cost?

    The cost will vary depending on what treatment you need. There may be extra costs if there are complications and you need more treatment. Ask your dentist for a treatment plan and a written estimate before you start treatment.

    Source: British Dental Health Foundation

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