What You Should Do if You Have a Chipped or Cracked Tooth
As soon as you see a visible chip on your tooth or suspect that a crack may have occurred, make an appointment to see your dentist. As with most dental procedures, the earlier a dentist can treat the issue, the less expensive it is in the long run.
Before Visiting the Dentist
Before you can get to the dentist, it is important to understand what you should do after experiencing a chipped or cracked tooth. Protecting the tooth from further damage is the priority. Rinse with warm salt water to help fight any infections and cover the area with fresh gauze or dental cement. Try to avoid eating or drinking as much as possible since it can exacerbate the issue. If the crack has hit the inner nerve, there may be some pain to contend with. Over-the-counter, pain relief medicines and dental anesthetic are both wonderful temporary aids.
Types of Chips & Cracks
There are many types of dental services that can be offered to repair a chipped or cracked tooth, depending on the specific injury that occurred.
- Minor chip – the most common issue that occurs. When the nerves are not damaged, a filling material is generally used and then ground and shaped to match the rest of the tooth.
- Minor crack – also referred to as “craze lines,” they are usually not a concern but can be polished and smoothed by your dentist.
- More severe crack – when the pieces of the tooth remain in place, but the crack continues towards the root, early intervention can prevent a root canal or need for extraction.
- Fractured cusp – when the biting surfaced gets chipped, it generally is not painful, and a crown can be used to prevent further damage and return the tooth to its previous appearance.
- A break – when the nerve is exposed due to a break, your dentist will most likely recommend a root canal.
- A split – when a tooth splits vertically into two separate parts. This is usually caused by an untreated crack that spread. A root canal may be necessary, but if at least half the tooth cannot be saved, extraction may be necessary.
- A split root – A crack that starts at the root and spreads upward. May not be noticeable until it becomes infected.
- Decay-induced crack – Caused when a cavity weakens the tooth from the inside out. If the decay is extensive enough, the tooth may not be saved.