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The Pain of a Chipped Tooth

If you suspect that one of your teeth is cracked or chipped, it is important to contact our office immediately to repair the tooth and prevent the problem from becoming more severe.

When the tooth enamel is cracked, chewing can cause the tooth to wedge open slightly allowing fluids to get into the tooth causing pain. Over time, if the crack is deep enough, bacteria can get into the inner pulp of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. When this occurs the bacteria can cause an infection in the pulp. To get rid of the pain and to save the tooth, a procedure called “Root Canal Treatment” will be needed. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding bone.

Chipped Tooth

Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

It can often be difficult to determine if your tooth is cracked or chipped because the pain isn’t consistent—it may come and go. You might notice more pain or sensitivity when:

  • Chewing on the cracked tooth
  • Releasing pressure from biting
  • Eating foods or drinking liquids with extreme temperature differences

When the tooth enamel is cracked, chewing can cause the tooth to wedge open slightly allowing fluids to get into the tooth causing pain. Over time, if the crack is deep enough, bacteria can get into the inner pulp of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. When this occurs the bacteria can cause an infection in the pulp. To get rid of the pain and to save the tooth, a procedure called “Root Canal Treatment” will be needed. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding bone.

Treatment Options

If your tooth is chipped but not down to the pulp of the tooth, can likely be repaired. Chipped tooth repair can also be accomplished by placing a filling in the tooth. Cracked tooth repair will depend on the type of crack, its location, and the extent of the damage.

Craze Lines

Shallow cracks that do not cause pain can be monitored and treated if they become symptomatic and start hurting.

Fractured Cusp

Occurs when part of the tooth’s chewing surface cracks or breaks off entirely. This frequently happens around a filling. A crown is placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.

Cracked Tooth

Crack extending from the chewing surface toward the root. Usually the crack is confined to the tooth above the gum and can be treated with a filling or a protective crown restoration that covers the top of the tooth.

Split Tooth

Cracked teeth that extend below the gums and if left untreated can split more causing nerve damage. Depending on the extent of the damage or if it extends below the gum level the tooth may be able to be saved by a periodontal procedure called ” Crown Lengthening ” where the gum is trimmed back and the bone around the cracked tooth is lowered a bit to allow for a filling or crown restoration to save the tooth.

Vertical Root Fracture

Cracks that begin at the chewing surface extending below the gum along the root of the tooth. Vertical root fractures often go unnoticed until infection is discovered in the surrounding bone or gums or the tooth becomes very painful to bite on. If a tooth has a vertical fracture down the side of the tooth, then the tooth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted.

What to Expect After Treatment

Cracked teeth do not heal like fractured bones do. Crowns and fillings are meant to protect your tooth from further breakage, but the cracks in your teeth will sometimes progress to the point that removal is necessary. Still, it is important to seek treatment to stop the pain, prevent further infection or damage and improve your overall oral health. You should be able to chew comfortably and drink without experiencing sensitivity after completing the recommended treatment.

How to Make Your Teeth Less Susceptible to Damage

Day in and day out, we put our teeth to the test. The enamel on our teeth is harder and stronger than our bones; yet, it can still be broken from an injury or trauma to the face. There are also a number of other things that can gradually weaken the enamel and potentially crack the tooth. While there is no way to completely prevent your teeth from cracking, but there are measures that you can take to make them less susceptible to damage.

  • Do not chew on hard objects such as pens
  • Do not chew on extremely crunchy foods or ice
  • Refrain from clenching or grinding teeth
  • Wear a mouth guard or face mask when participating in contact sports

Don’t Suffer Any Longer

Contact our office right away if you are experiencing pain or sensitivity in your teeth. We will help you schedule an appointment as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can ease the discomfort of a chipped or cracked tooth by avoiding biting on the tooth and keeping hot and cold drinks and foods away from the cracked tooth.

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Briglia Dental Group
600 East Marshall Street
Suite 201
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 692-4440
Fax: (610) 692-9277
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Monday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
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