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What to Do for a Cracked Tooth

Portrait of young woman biting ice cube
Portrait of young woman biting ice cube

It can happen at any time.  You bite down on that lunchtime burrito, crunch a piece of ice, or take a sip of that ice cold water, and suddenly a sharp pain shoots from your tooth.  You brush and floss regularly, stay away from sugary sodas, and your last dental checkup showed no cavities, so why does your tooth hurt so badly? Most likely, you have a cracked tooth. Call our Ft. Worth dental office today to schedule an appointment for Dr. Green or Dr. Leedy to evaluate your tooth and suggest treatment to relieve your pain.

What is a Cracked Tooth?

A crack may result from a number of different factors. In your lifetime, you will almost certainly have some tiny cracks on the surface of your teeth due to normal wear and tear. These small cracks may never bother you and won’t require treatment. However, chewing on ice or hard candy, clenching or grinding your teeth, a blow to the mouth, or even taking a drink of ice water after chewing hot food can cause your teeth to crack more severely, possibly down to the root. Sometimes a cracked tooth is hard to diagnose, as the damage may appear as a microscopic hairline fracture that is hard to see even on an x-ray, and you may difficulty determining exactly which tooth hurts. For these reasons, you should pay attention to any sensitivity to heat or cold and approximately where the pain originates when you chew, to help Dr. Green or Dr. Leedy determine which tooth needs attention.

What Kind of Pain Does a Cracked Tooth Cause?

Depending on the severity, you may not experience any pain at all from a cracked tooth. Pain usually starts when pressure from chewing causes the pieces to move, irritating the pulp.  When the pressure on the tooth is released it results in a quick, sharp pain.  The pain may subside when you aren’t chewing, but eventually a sensitivity to heat or cold could develop.  If the crack is deep enough, it will allow bacteria to infect the pulp, causing the tooth to hurt constantly, even when you are not chewing.

How is a Cracked Tooth Treated?

Treatment of a cracked tooth depends on the depth and severity of the crack.  Dr. Green and Dr. Leedy offer the following treatment options.  Call for an appointment today and visit our comfortable Fort Worth, TX office to discuss your options.

Types of treatment:

  • Composite Bonding – Bonding may be suggested for a chipped tooth. In this procedure, a composite material is bonded to the existing tooth to replace missing tooth structure.  The process requires no removal of the original tooth, and usually takes less than an hour.
  • Crowns – For a cracked tooth, will probably need a crown, which is a permanent covering that fits over the affected tooth, protecting it from further damage. In the past, this process took several visits over a period of weeks, as the doctor had to make an impression of the tooth and send it to a lab to have the crown created. In our Fort Worth dental office, however, Dr. Green and Dr. Leedy use technology called CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics or CEramic REConstruction) to create and install crowns. CEREC incorporates digital imaging and allows the dentist to create your porcelain crown right in the office. The crown is permanently bonded to the affected tooth.  You will walk out of our office with a natural-looking, permanent crown in just one visit!
  • Root Canal – In serious cases, where the crack has allowed bacteria to get to the pulp and infect the tooth, a root canal may be necessary. During a root canal, the infected pulp is removed from inside the tooth and replaced with a strengthening filler material. A crown completes the procedure.

Schedule Your Visit Now

If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, don’t wait for the pain to get worse.  Call today for an appointment with Dr. Nikki Green at our welcoming Fort Worth, TX office and we’ll have you feeling better in no time!

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