Tooth Pain? Your Tooth Might Be Broken Without You Even Knowing It

Dentist Blog

When a tooth breaks, you'll want to get it fixed as quickly as possible. But what if your tooth is broken and you don't even know it? It might sound impossible, but not every broken tooth involves a piece breaking off completely or visibly. Cracks and fractures in teeth are also very serious problems that should be diagnosed and taken care of right away.

What's So Serious About Fractured Teeth?

Unlike fractured bones, fractured teeth won't heal on their own. That means that there's only one direction for an untreated fracture to go: from bad to worse. Fractures generally expand over time as the tooth is stressed by everyday activities like chewing.

Once a fracture reaches the center, or pulp, of a tooth, it provides an entryway for bacteria, leading to infections or nerve death. Eventually, fractures in teeth can lead to chipping and structural breaks as well.

How Can A Fractured Tooth Be Caught?

Some fractures are obvious – if you see visible cracks on your teeth, then you know you need to see a dentist. But a big problem with fractures is that they aren't always obvious. So what sorts of symptoms should you be looking for?

  • Increased sensitivity to cold or sweets, especially if only on a single tooth
  • Sharp, localized tooth pain, often only when chewing puts pressure on the tooth
  • Swelling of the gum and loosening of the tooth in the gum

Larger fractures may also be caught on dental x-rays, so it's important to get your annual x-rays and have them examined by your dentist. However, if you are having tooth pain and x-rays show nothing, your dentist may still look for hairline fractures that are too thin to be visible on the x-rays.

How Is A Fractured Tooth Fixed?

Repairing a fractured tooth depends on just how damaged it is, but in general, the repairs are the same as for visibly broken teeth. If a fracture is small and is caught early before it has progressed down to the pulp, the broken tooth repair may be completed with dental bonding. More commonly, just as with visible breaks, a crown will be installed on the tooth to provide more stability. If the crack has extended into the pulp, a root canal and crown will be necessary. And if the crack has progressed too far, the tooth may need to be extracted completely.

Luckily, with the availability of dental bridges and implants, even a fractured or broken tooth that must be extracted completely can, after treatment, be replaced completely. Still, the earlier a fracture is caught, the easier it will be to fix – so if you're suffering from any of the signs of a tooth fracture, bring it up with your dentist right away.


11 June 2015

Getting Your Toddler to the Dentist Once and For All

Toddlers should see a dentist for the first time by the age of twelve months or by the time their first tooth comes in. But if you are a parent with toddlers anything like mine, the prospect of going to the dentist (let alone anywhere!) can be pretty intimidating. My kids were a handful growing up. They had tantrums any time we would have to sit in a waiting room, and they refused to get in the dentist's chair during their first few visits. So, I had to employ a professional to help me make the transition to finally getting them in that dental chair without all the screaming and crying. I know I'm not the only parent in this situation, so I decided to share the information I've learned with others who can use a little help. You can find all my advice right here on these pages!