When we talk about a cracked tooth, we're referring to a tooth that has a crack running from the biting surface down towards the root. Sometimes, the crack is too small to see and can even be hidden under the gum. This makes it challenging to identify, often leading to a delay in treatment. The type, extent, and location of the crack dictate the severity of the problem and the treatment required.
While the signs and symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity of the crack, there are some common indicators. You might experience sharp pain when biting down or when your tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures. This pain often comes and goes, rather than being a constant discomfort.
Another symptom of a cracked tooth can be a localized sensitivity or discomfort when consuming sweet, sour, or crunchy foods. You may also notice a small area of inflammation or swelling around the affected tooth. Sometimes, you might even see a visible line or crack on the tooth's surface, though this isn't always the case.
Neglecting a cracked tooth can have serious consequences, posing risks to both your oral and overall health. The crack can allow bacteria to infiltrate the tooth, leading to decay or infection. If an infection reaches the root, it can develop into an abscess, a painful and potentially dangerous condition.
In addition to infection and decay, a cracked tooth can also cause damage to the surrounding teeth and gum tissue. The sharp edges of the crack can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to gum disease over time. Furthermore, a cracked tooth may eventually break, causing more severe pain and potentially resulting in tooth loss.
Lastly, the discomfort and pain caused by a cracked tooth can impact your daily life, affecting your ability to eat, speak, and sleep properly. It can also contribute to stress, anxiety, and a lowered quality of life.
If you're experiencing any signs or symptoms of a cracked tooth, it's crucial to seek professional help as soon as possible. Dental intervention becomes necessary when the pain, sensitivity, or discomfort associated with the cracked tooth becomes persistent or disruptive to your daily life.
Additionally, if you notice any visible signs of a crack, inflammation around the tooth, or changes in your tooth's color, these are clear indicators that professional dental intervention is necessary. Ignoring these signs can lead to the risks mentioned above, including infection, tooth decay, abscess, and even tooth loss.
Your dentist can diagnose a cracked tooth through visual examination, probing, using a dental dye, or taking X-rays. The type and severity of the crack will determine the best course of treatment, which can range from bonding and root canal to extraction and replacement with a dental implant.
In cases where the cracked tooth is severely damaged and cannot be saved, a dental implant can serve as a permanent solution. Dental implants consist of a titanium post that's surgically inserted into the jawbone, a connector, and a custom-made crown that resembles your natural tooth.
Dental implants have several advantages. They look and feel like natural teeth, provide stable support for eating and speaking, and help maintain facial structure by preventing bone loss in the jaw. They're also durable and long-lasting, with proper care and regular dental check-ups.
However, keep in mind that not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. You need to have sufficient bone density in your jaw, and your gums must be free from periodontal disease. Your dentist can determine if you're a suitable candidate for dental implants.
Leaving a cracked tooth untreated is not advisable due to the numerous risks it poses to your oral and overall health. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing complications like infection, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.
Don't ignore the signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth. Seek professional help as soon as possible, and ensure you maintain good oral hygiene practices post-treatment. Visit the Palm Beach Center for Periodontics and Implant Dentistry in our Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, office. Please call (561) 621-3111 to schedule an appointment today.