No one wants to chip or crack a tooth. While sometimes it’s obvious when a chip or crack happens, for others, they may notice a problem later but are not sure when or how it happened.
Chips in your teeth are usually visible, but cracks may not always be noticeable, especially on a back tooth. Getting a regular exam with your dentist in Asheville can help identify any problems before they turn into the need for more intensive therapies.
If you know that you’ve injured a tooth and can see a visible crack or chip, what are your treatment options? Here’s how chips and cracks can happen and what you can do about them!
How Do Chips and Cracks Happen?
For many people, an accident is likely to chip or crack a tooth. However, chips and cracks can also happen because:
- You have a cavity that’s weakened the tooth’s structure and has resulted in a crack.
- Misaligned teeth or an improper bite has put pressure on your teeth in unusual places, leading to chipped teeth.
- Oral piercings such as tongue rings have cracked or chipped your teeth.
- Bruxism—teeth grinding—has put immense pressure on your teeth, leading to fractures.
So what can you do about your chipped or cracked teeth? You should always seek treatment if you’ve injured a tooth or feel that something’s not quite right. Here are some restorative options that can help repair your smile!
Some Cases May Not Need Treatment
Not every case of chipped or cracked teeth will need treatment. If you have a chip that’s very small and not causing any problems, your dentist in Asheville may simply polish the tooth to create a more even appearance.
Some people have what are called craze lines in their teeth, which are tiny superficial fractures. They usually aren’t noticeable unless you look very closely. While they can make teeth stain more easily, many cases don’t require treatment.
If your craze lines are of cosmetic concern, you can talk with your dentist about treatment options. However, if you don’t notice them and they aren’t causing any problems, they may be fine to leave alone. Your dentist will let you know what your options are during your appointment!
Dental Bonding or Filling
Dental bonding is a cosmetic procedure that uses the same material as composite resin fillings (also called tooth-colored fillings). Dental bonding is a common procedure for chipped teeth that only pose a cosmetic concern.
Since the material used in dental bonding is designed to match your natural teeth, you can effectively restore the appearance of your smile. Dental bonding doesn’t usually require local anesthesia and is a low-risk process.
In some cases, cracked teeth may be able to be repaired with a filling. There are several ways to crack a tooth, so whether or not your cracked tooth can be repaired with a filling will all depend on the nature of the fracture.
Root Canal Therapy
While chipped teeth don’t normally need root canal therapy, there are cases where an untreated chip can turn into a crack. If the crack has affected the inner chamber of your tooth, you may need root canal therapy.
In a root canal procedure, your dentist will remove the pulp, or nerve tissue, of your tooth and fill and seal the chamber to prevent the possibility of future infection. Your tooth will be protected with a dental crown following the restoration.
Dental veneers can treat teeth that have been affected by chips or cracks. Patients who have extensive chipping may opt for dental veneers, which can be a long-term solution instead of dental bonding, which will need to be touched-up or replaced every few years.
Patients who have other issues with their smile such as chips, misaligned teeth, or deeply stained teeth can benefit from dental veneers as an all-in-one treatment. Dental veneers may also be able to repair certain cases of fractured or broken teeth.
A dental crown is a replica of your natural tooth that acts as a cap to fit over the tooth. Teeth that have chips typically don’t need dental crowns to repair the issue, but teeth that are cracked often do. Whether you’ve received root canal therapy or not, a dental crown may be able to help repair your cracked tooth.
Porcelain dental crowns typically last for years with the right care, and will help keep your tooth protected from sensitivity and further trauma!
Teeth that have extensive chipping can almost always be repaired with cosmetic procedures. However, not all cases of cracked teeth can be fixed. If you have a deep crack in your tooth that extends below the gumline, extraction may be your only option.
Your Asheville dentist will do everything they can to save your tooth, but in some cases, it makes more sense to remove a deeply cracked tooth than attempt to repair it. Your dentist will conduct a complete exam of your smile to help you determine what your best option is for treatment!
What Are the Symptoms of a Chipped or Cracked Tooth?
Some chipped or cracked teeth will be asymptomatic, meaning you won’t experience any symptoms from them. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need treatment.
Since chips can turn into cracks and cracks can lead to extraction, it’s always a good idea to get your injured tooth evaluated by your professional dentist.
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Sudden pain when biting or chewing.
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold or sweet and spicy foods.
- A toothache that doesn’t go away.
- Intermittent pain, whether from chewing or from temperature.
- Swelling in the gum tissue around the tooth.
Letting a cracked or chipped tooth go without treatment is never a good idea. Whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms, get your smile evaluated to be safe and protect your teeth!
Let Us Safely Repair Your Teeth!
At Saunders DDS, our team is here to support your smile in the Asheville area. Whether you have symptoms of a cracked or chipped tooth or you’re overdue for an exam, we invite you to make an appointment with us. Call us at (828) 277-6060 today, or reach out to our team through our contact form!