Tooth decay and gum disease lead to loss of teeth. You may be surprised that next on that list is cracked teeth. Cracks are the third-leading cause of tooth loss.
The expert team at Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, wants you to enjoy healthy teeth and a gorgeous smile for as long as you can. We encourage you to consider a cracked tooth a serious problem — because it is — and to seek treatment if you realize one of your teeth is cracked.
Not all cracks are the same
People can experience several different types of cracks. A common example is craze lines, tiny cracks in the outer enamel of your teeth. This is the only type of crack you can safely ignore.
However, if you have craze lines, you may not like the way they look, and we can help with that!
Other types of cracks include:
If you have large fillings, you’re at risk for this kind of crack. A fractured cusp happens when a piece of your tooth’s chewing surface breaks. You likely won’t sustain any damage to the sensitive inner part of your tooth, called the pulp, and you may not experience much pain.
However, it’s important to talk to your dentist about a new filling or a crown because your tooth needs protection. Bacteria can enter through the crack and cause an infection.
A vertical crack
When you have a crack that runs down your tooth, it may or may not be treatable. A crack that stops at your gum line can be treated. It’s important to get treatment before the crack gets any bigger.
However, a crack that extends into the pulp of your tooth probably means the tooth needs to be extracted. When the root of your tooth is cracked, extraction is the only option. This is one reason why getting treatment quickly when you notice a crack is so important.
A split tooth
A crack that extends throughout your tooth, breaking it into two or more segments, is a split tooth. It’s often the result of having a cracked tooth for a long time. We may be able to save a portion of your original tooth, but you may need to have more extensive treatment than you would have if you’d gotten treatment sooner.
A fractured root
In some cases, the crack develops first below your gum line, in the root of your tooth. This type of crack is dangerous because it’s hard to identify. Often the first symptoms are symptoms of infection. Treatment in these cases vary depending on the extent of the crack, whether there’s infection, and many other factors.
There are many approaches to fixing cracked teeth, including:
Since there are different types of cracks, the most appropriate treatment for you depends on how your tooth is cracked, as well as other factors. The important thing to know is that if you don’t get a cracked tooth taken care of, you’re at risk for losing it.
If you or a member of your family has a cracked tooth, book an appointment at Santa Monica Bay Dental. We can help! You can schedule online or by phone.