A dental emergency can happen to anyone, anytime. Dr. Jacqueline S. Allen of Phoenix Endodontic Group is a pro at handling these problems with an expert hand and offers the following information about cracked teeth.
Cracked teeth can be categorized into four groups: Fractured cusp, cracked tooth, split tooth, and vertical root fracture. Though they may sound similar, they are decidedly different.
In the case of a fractured cusp, part of the tooth’s surface might be cracked off. This happens frequently with teeth that were previously filled. These are repaired using a crown, which is a cap cemented into place to hold your tooth firmly together.
A cracked tooth has developed a vertical crack from the surface to the gumline. At this point, the tooth is still intact and the inner pulp containing the vital nerves and root hasn’t been breached. This type of damage could be fixed with a filling or a crown.
If allowed to progress, a crack can become a split tooth, where the crack progresses below the gumline and the tooth may separate into pieces. This is the type of dental emergency needing more advanced treatment like root canal therapy.
Last but not least, a vertical root fracture is a crack that starts on the root end of the tooth rather than the chewing surface. Sometimes symptoms aren’t obvious, which is why it’s so important for regular dental checkups. This type of crack may require removing the tooth or part of the root.
Many of these cases can be avoided by using common sense. For dietary culprits of cracks, Ice and nuts are the big ones: nuts particularly–if you are biting the shell to get the meat out of them, says Dr. Allen. Avoid bad habits like “chewing on any object that is hard or repetitive.” Other problems may not be as controllable, Dr. Allen indicates. Grinding or clenching can also fracture teeth, particularly teeth that have large fillings with no crown. Teeth that have decay are prone to fracture as well.
For more information on a dental emergency like cracked teeth, call Dr. Allen at Phoenix Endodontic Group today!