Repairing Chipped or Broken Teeth
How Do You Chip or Crack Your Teeth?
Enamel, which covers your teeth and is the hardest substance in your body, has its limits. If you chew on hard candy, ice, bite down hard, receive a blow to your face, or grind your teeth in your sleep, your teeth can chip or crack. Poor hygiene and cavities can also weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to being chipped or cracked. You may not even feel any tooth pain when you chip a tooth unless it’s large enough to expose the inner layer of your tooth. A crack might only affect the enamel and it would not feel painful unless you bite down hard or when the temperature in your mouth changes. Many times, you won’t even be able to see a crack with the naked eye. This is why it’s so important to schedule regular appointments with Dr. Mitchell, because he will be able to find problems before they become painful.
Types of Broken or Chipped Teeth Dr. Mitchell Recommends Fixing
Craze lines are tiny cracks in your teeth. These types of cracks only affect the outer layer of your enamel. They’re very common in adults. They are extremely shallow and don’t cause pain. Although they are not cosmetically pleasing, they’re not dangerous. Dr. Mitchell would not recommend fixing these types of cracks.
A fractured cusp is a fracture at the point of a tooth on the chewing surface. A cusp can become weakened and break off itself or it may need to be removed by Dr. Mitchell. Its removal will usually relieve any pain. Fractured cusps rarely damage the pulp of your tooth, so root canal treatment is usually not necessary. To repair the tooth back to normal, Dr. Mitchell may recommend a crown.
In some cases, a crack will extend from the tooth’s chewing surface down towards the root, sometimes reaching below the gum line. This type of crack should be treated quickly, because the pulp can easily become damaged. At that point, root canal treatment becomes necessary. An untreated cracked tooth will get worse, and extraction may become the only option. Early detection is essential, so Dr. Mitchell definitely recommends treatment.
A split tooth happens when a tooth is cracked and over time the crack progresses and the tooth eventually splits into two separate parts. Depending on the gravity of the split, Dr. Mitchell may not be able to save the tooth intact. Depending on the position and extent of the crack, he will determine whether part of the tooth can be saved with a crown or other restorative procedure.
Vertical root fractures are cracks that begin in the root of a tooth. Because the fracture line may not be visible, Dr. Mitchell has to pay special attention to your symptoms in order to identify if you have one. Vertical root fractures are some of the most difficult fractures to identify. They are often fixed through endodontic treatment. It’s possible to save some of the tooth but in many cases the tooth needs to be removed.
Preventing Cracked or Chipped Teeth
It’s difficult to completely prevent chipping and cracking because almost everyone ends up with it eventually. Here are a few ideas that Dr. Mitchell suggests to prevent unnecessary damage:
- Don’t chew on ice, popcorn kernels, pens, hard candy, or other hard objects.
- Don’t clench or grind your teeth.
- If you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, speak with Dr. Mitchell about getting a retainer or mouthguard.
- When playing contact sports, wear a mouthguard.
If you would like a closer examination of your teeth, give us a call to schedule a consultation. Call us at (662) 634-4689 or send us an email.