Having a cracked tooth is no laughing matter. Knowing how to fix a cracked tooth appropriately and knowing when to do so, is a wonderful combination. Knowing the difference between a cracked tooth and other dental anomalies is something for which a well educated and trained dentist, such as Dr. Terri, can do.
What is a cracked tooth?
A cracked tooth is exactly that, a tooth that has been cracked in one form or another. The crack can extend from an existing filling that is at the end of its functional life. It can also be cracked due to trauma, such as being hit, or it can be cracked due to the trauma of the normal function of chewing. Regardless, the tooth needs to be fixed to alleviate the pain that is now existing due to the crack.
The excruciating pain from a cracked tooth must be fixed as soon as possible before it causes any further damage. This can be as easy as a simple filling all the way to extraction of the involved tooth.
A simple filling can correct the problem of a cracked tooth by eliminating the point at which the tooth is moving, and thus causing the pain. Dr. Terri will remove any damaged tooth structure down past the crack and fill in your tooth with a new, strong filling material.
Other times, the tooth will need to be crowned. Dr. Terri will still need to prepare the tooth for the crown down past the crack to prevent further damage to dental structures. Once that is accomplished, a custom fit crown for the tooth will be fabricated to hold the tooth together.
For the most extensive cracked teeth, the tooth may need to be removed. In these instances, the tooth can then be replaced to restore normal function with a dental implant or a bridge depending on the other existing restorations and your personal desires. This will be discussed with you in your comprehensive treatment plan by Dr. Terri prior to extraction of the offending tooth.
On occasion, if your desire is to save your natural tooth, an additional dental/surgical procedure will need to be performed prior to correcting your cracked tooth. This procedure is called crown lengthening. Crown lengthening is necessary when the tooth is cracked too close to the supporting bone of the tooth. If the tooth were to be restored with a filling or a crown at this point, it would cause extreme inflammation and future periodontal bone loss.
If Dr. Terri thinks that an additional procedure is necessary prior to restoring your cracked tooth, it will be discussed with you in detail at your treatment planning appointment.