Fractured teeth are when a crack occurs in teeth. Fractures can happen for several reasons:
- cavities develop that put the tooth in a weakened condition
- a fall occurs
- getting hit in the mouth or face
- biting down on a hard material (such as ice) results in fractured teeth
1. Signs of Fractured Teeth
Pain is not always present. however, larger fractures can be quite painful since the nerve inside the tooth is affected. Hot or cold food or drinks cause excruciating pain when there is a fracture. When exposed to air, they can cause more than considerable discomfort. Chewing, which exerts pressure on a tooth, will result in feeling pain.
Pain can be intermittent or constant. Pain that is unrelenting is a sign that there is a damaged nerve or affected blood vessels.
2. What Should Be Done Prior to the Dental Appointment
Once it has been determined that a fracture is responsible for the pain, there are five things a person can do in the interim while waiting for their appointment with the dentist. Often, bleeding along with pain may occur, and these five suggestions will help alleviate the pain as well as stop the blood flow:
- Rinse with warm water thoroughly.
- Use a piece of gauze and apply pressure to any area that is bleeding. Continue the application of pressure in the vicinity for 10 minutes or until the bleeding ceases. If that is ineffective, use a tea bag and apply it with pressure.
- Use a cold pack on the lips or cheek. The cold pack will result in less swelling and less pain.
- If a dental appointment can not be immediately made, use dental cement to cover the teeth. Dental cement can be purchased at the drug store.
- Take over-the-counter pain control medicine for discomfort.
3. Restoration...Is It Necessary?
After it has been established that a fracture is the problem and while waiting for the dental appointment, perhaps some internal debate ensues...Is the restorative procedure necessary?
In many cases a repair can prevent losing the teeth. Normal eating and chewing can resume once the teeth are restored. Also, restoring a fracture can improve the person's looks or reinstate their appearance to the pre-fracture state.
4. How Are These Teeth Restored?
The restorative method(s) called for depend on the type of fracture. There are numerous categories of damage, such as:
- cracked tooth--The whole tooth, from the nerve all the way up to the surface, is cracked. If not repaired, the condition will deteriorate; the crack will spread. Sometimes a filling material can be used to repair the crack. Often, a crown will be required so the crack does not get worse.
- chips--In the case of minor chips, filling material will be used. This will serve a dual purpose: the teeth will feel better and look better. Polishing and smoothing out the chipped tooth may also be suggested.
- broken cusp--The cusps, or the pointed chewing surfaces, are affected. Usually a porcelain crown or an onlay will be the appropriate restoration.
- serious breaks--Fractures that are deep enough to result in nerve exposure are serious. These may require a root canal, so the exposed nerve can be removed. Then, so normal eating and chewing can resume, a crown will be necessary for strength and protection.
- split tooth--A vertical crack sometimes ends up splitting the tooth into two parts. In most cases, these teeth cannot be saved and must be extracted.
- vertical breaks--Cracks that begin at the root and extend toward the chewing surface but are not split into two parts have vertical breaks. With most patients, the tooth is removed.
- decay-induced break--Sometimes a cavity damages the tooth, resulting in a severely compromised tooth structure. The dentist must determine if restoring the tooth is a long lasting plan or if the tooth weould be better extracted and replaced by a bridge or an implant.