How to repair cracked tooth
Just like other parts of your body, teeth are prone to wear and tear. When you think about all the work your teeth do, it’s no wonder they may encounter some cracking along the way. Fortunately, there’s a lot that can be done for cracked teeth.
Talking to your dentist to understand the symptoms and contributing factors is the first step. You can then decide which preventive measures will help strengthen your teeth. It’s also important to find out how to minimise the long-term damage to cracked teeth.
When we talk about cracking in teeth, it’s not as visible as a crack in the wall. There are cracked tooth symptoms you can look out for to help identify if you need some repair or preventive treatment. When your teeth get cracks in them, bacteria and liquids can get in there and cause decay.
If your teeth become sensitive to hot and cold drinks, this could be a sign you have some cracking on your teeth. Or if you experience pain when you bite on something hard, that’s another cracked tooth symptom to look out for.
These symptoms can come and go—it’s normal to think that if the sensitivity or pain has subsided, the problem must be gone. This is where a lot of people often go wrong with teeth.
Cracking is not something that is going to heal itself. If left untreated, the crack can progress down into the pulp or nerve of the tooth, and infection can spread through the tooth and into the bone. If it gets to that stage, you’re probably looking at root canal or extraction.
But if you’re aware of the symptoms, direct fillings such as tooth-coloured composite can be applied early. This strengthens the tooth and prevents further damage. Talking to your dentist about the factors that can predispose you to tooth cracking is an effective way to take an active role in your dental health.
Resin-style fillings reduce cracking
If you have reasonably large fillings in your teeth—especially the older amalgam-style ones—these teeth are at increased risk of cracking. When the filling was originally done, the decay would have been cleaned out and the gap filled with amalgam.
The problem is, the amalgam doesn’t bond to the tooth so you’re left with thinner outer edges of your tooth. The wear and tear over time that is caused by chewing can be enough to lead to cracking in the thinner parts of the tooth that has been filled.
Newer resin-style fillings can help reduce cracking teeth. This material is bonded to the tooth, adding strength and durability. One way to lessen the chance of cracking in a tooth that has a large filling is to put something over the cusps—the hard parts of the tooth on the outside that are used for biting. An onlay or a crown can help hold everything together.
Risks of teeth grinding
Grinding teeth or jaw clenching can also lead to a cracked tooth. Not everyone knows they are doing this because it usually happens when you are asleep. Some people will wake up with a sore jaw so they can assume they have been teeth grinding in their sleep. For others, their partner will be able to identify if they are grinding their teeth.
If this is identified early, acrylic or polycarbonate guards worn while sleeping can help prevent cracked teeth. Unfortunately, for many people, by the time any cracked tooth symptoms have been identified, the damage will have started and they will need fillings. Again, the earlier the cracked tooth is identified, the less invasive level of treatment is required.
Like the rest of your body, you need to listen to your teeth and be aware of cracked tooth symptoms and causes. The best solution is to talk your dentist and work out the most effective treatment plan for you.