Accidents happen and sometimes those incidents involve your teeth. Chipping and/or cracking of the teeth can range in severity from a minor cosmetic issue to a major dental emergency. If you visit your dentist soon after the incident occurs, there is a good chance that your damaged tooth can be saved. However, there are times when a serious chipped or cracked tooth will require extraction. Learn more about chipped and cracked teeth and how a reputable dentist can assist you.
Chipped vs. Cracked Teeth – What’s the Difference?
Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy smile. When an accident occurs that creates chips or cracks in the teeth, it can cause a person to lose their confidence. Chipping and cracking of the teeth are both fairly common dental accidents that can have devastating effects on a person’s smile.
There are several ways that a Clermont dental professional will distinguish between a chipped and cracked tooth. In most cases, a chipped tooth occurs when a part of the tooth made up of all or mostly enamel breaks off. When a tooth is cracked, the damage typically extends past the enamel into the dentin or “support” layer. Severe cracks can even reach the pulp or interior of the tooth.
Chipped teeth are generally more of a cosmetic issue that may cause some sensitivity but usually not significant pain. In comparison, cracked teeth can result in functional and health problems, resulting in greater pain and sensitivity. Cracked teeth typically require a prompt examination by your dentist to determine the extent of the injury and implement the proper treatment.
What Causes Chipped and Cracked Teeth?
Your tooth can become chipped or cracked for a wide range of reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay or cavities can gradually weaken the teeth, making them more susceptible to chips and cracks.
- Trauma – A hard hit to the face or mouth can result in a chipped or cracked tooth.
- Biting on Something Hard – Biting down on food or another hard item can crack or chip your tooth.
- Poor Hygiene – Poor oral health routines can make a person more vulnerable to tooth chipping and cracking.
- Bruxism: Bruxism, or excessive teeth grinding, can wear down the teeth and cause a person to more easily suffer from a chipped or cracked tooth.
How are Chipped and Cracked Teeth Treated?
How a chipped or cracked tooth is treated will depend on several factors, such as the type of damage, the extent of the damage, and the preferred treatment by the patient.
Small chips can often be smoothed and polished by a dental professional and no further treatment may be needed. Medium-sized chips may cause more damage and require a dental filling or crown to protect the inner layers of the tooth from infection and irritation. Large chips that expose the tooth nerve will typically require a root canal to remove the damaged nerve. A cap or crown is then placed on the tooth to restore normal function.
Cracks can also vary in severity. Simple cracks, also known as “craze lines,” may not require treatment. However, fractures that extend into the chewing surfaces of the tooth down to the tooth root will generally require prompt treatment to avoid ongoing pain and infection.
Tooth bonding is a common treatment option for cracked teeth. During this procedure, tooth-colored resin is used to repair and reshape the tooth. If a cracked tooth has suffered damage to the pulp, a root canal may be needed. In situations when the tooth becomes displaced or loose, your dentist may recommend bonding the cracked tooth to the tooth next to it for support until the tooth recovers.
Contact Hancock Village Dental for an Appointment
If you are experiencing a chipped or cracked tooth, you’ll want to undergo a full assessment by an experienced dentist. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the friendly Clermont dental team at Hancock Village Dental.