It's easy to crack your tooth the holidays while breaking open nut shells with your teeth, or while eating candy canes. If you've recently started noticing feelings of pain and discomfort after putting this kind of stress on your tooth, it's possible that you've cracked the enamel. Knowing the signs of a cracked tooth and what to do if you've sustained this type of injury can help you get the right treatment for your needs.
How can you tell if you've cracked a tooth?
If you've recently cracked a tooth, you'll notice erratic, intermittent pain in your mouth. This pain may get worse when pressure on your teeth is high, and may lessen when pressure on your teeth is low. You'll probably also notice a particular sensitivity to cold and heat.
Will you be able to see the crack?
Sometimes patients can see the cracks in their teeth, but often they cannot. This will depend on the location and size of the crack.
What should you do if you think you've cracked a tooth?
If you think that you've cracked your tooth, see a dentist as soon as possible. Although a cracked tooth is not an emergency, waiting to see a dentist can result in infection and loss of the tooth.
Do you need to see a specialist for a cracked tooth?
A cracked tooth can be handled at a general dentistry appointment. If it turns out that your tooth is not cracked but something else is wrong, your dentist may refer you to a specialist, depending on the particular problem.
Besides chewing on a nut or hard candy, what would have caused the tooth to crack?
There are many things that can cause a tooth to crack. Some of these things include:
- Uneven chewing action, resulting in uneven wearing of the teeth.
- Large fillings and other repairs to the teeth that weaken the tooth.
- A fall or an accident that results in a blow to the mouth.
- Brittleness of the tooth.
What can your dentist do if your tooth is cracked?
If your tooth is cracked, your dentist will decide on the best treatment based on the size and severity of the crack. Small cracks may be treated with a procedure called bonding. Larger cracks and infection in the tooth may require a root canal or even a tooth extraction. Your dentist will be able to tell you the course of action after you come in for your appointment.
If you believe that you've cracked a tooth this holiday season, contact your dentist immediately. He or she will be able to help you seek treatment.