Signs You May Have Cracked Your Tooth
Pain, sensitivity and tooth movement are common signs of a cracked tooth. However, some people with teeth fractured by accident, excessive decay, big fillings or dental abscess show absolutely no symptoms. Only your St. Peters, MO, dentist, Dr. Amanda Hillis, can tell for sure if your tooth has this common problem. Also, she has the expertise to repair fractured teeth so they stay in place and function for many additional years.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome
It's also called CTS, and it can happen suddenly, in a car accident for instance, or over time when multiple fillings, acid erosion or other enamel-thinning conditions weaken tooth structure. Unfortunately, if not diagnosed and treated promptly, a cracked tooth may need extraction and replacement with fixed bridgework, a partial denture or dental implant.
So, your St. Peters dentist advises her patients to be aware of what is happening in their mouths. Signs of a cracked tooth include:
- Discoloration of tooth enamel
- A sudden, sharp pain when biting down or when releasing pressure on a tooth (this is rebound pain)
- Tooth mobility
- Loss of tooth enamel or a filling
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or sugar-laden foods (such as cake frosting or soda pop)
If you sustain a blow to the mouth, habitually clench or grind your teeth or observe any of the above signs, please contact Hillis Family Dental. Neglecting a cracked tooth often leads to decay, abscess or even tooth loss.
Treatments for a cracked tooth
To determine if you have a cracked tooth, Dr. Hillis will look at your tooth and take digital X-rays. Also, she will use a small handheld instrument called an explorer to detect any enamel defects or problems with crowns or fillings.
Depending on the damage, she may:
- Remove old filling material and decay and place a tooth-colored filling
- Repair minor damage with composite resin, a natural-looking blend of acrylic and glass that bonds directly to tooth structure
- Cover and protect healthy tooth structure with a dental crown or porcelain veneer (for the front side only)
- Perform root canal therapy to remove diseased soft pulp and cover the tooth with a crown
- Extract the tooth if the fracture is too extensive to repair
Preventing cracks and other damage
The American Association of Endodontists says that both children and adults can avoid many instances of cracked teeth. Dr. Hillis agrees and advises her patients to:
- Contact her office right away if you are experiencing any kind of oral discomfort
- Brush twice daily and floss once a day as the American Dental Association recommends
- Wear a customized night splint (mouth guard) if you grind your teeth
- Get semi-annual check-ups and cleanings to remove damaging plaque and tartar and to spot problems before they become painful or complex to repair
Are You Worried about a Tooth?
If you suspect you have a cracked tooth or other oral health problem, please contact Hillis Family Dental in St. Peters, MO, for an appointment. Acting right away can save your precious tooth! Call (636) 970-7902.