How does your dentist know if you have a cracked tooth?
You might think that it would be obvious because the pain would be excruciating, but it’s actually the opposite, especially if you have a silver mercury filling. Cracks in these teeth don’t usually hurt, so it can be difficult to know that they have started to split.
During your appointment, your dentist will pay close attention to the biting surfaces of your teeth to look for cavities, broken fillings, and white or black lies that may point to a vertical crack.
If you have a history of grinding your teeth at night, your dentist will pay extra attention to the biting surfaces of your teeth to look for cavities and broken fillings. They are also looking for white or black lines that may point to a vertical crack.
What is the best way to treat cracked teeth?
As tempting as it is to leave your teeth alone when there are cracks that aren’t painful, this is not the best approach, neither is waiting until it becomes painful.
These cracks do not heal themselves. In fact, they spread as time goes by. The best way to deal with the problem is to clean out the tooth. This consists of taking out any existing filling in your tooth and making a 2 millimetre deep channel for back teeth and a shallower channel for front teeth. Once the channel is created and the filling is removed, your dentist will shine a bright bonding light on your tooth to help find more cracks. Some dentists will also take a close-up photo to look at on their computer. If there aren’t anymore cracks, then the tooth can either be filled with composite (a tooth coloured plastic filling), or if there is a significant amount of tooth missing, a dental implant can be planned, and in some cases completed, on the same day.
If the crack is on your front tooth, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you don’t necessarily need a crown. It depends on your bite, how your front teeth meet, and if there are missing back teeth. In some cases, front teeth with cracks can be bonded to repair them.
If one of your back teeth has a crack that is visible after getting cleaned out, you should consider getting a crown. This will help distribute the biting forces to your tooth and help prevent any cracks from getting larger and causing further complications. However, when considering getting a crown it’s important to understand that if your tooth becomes problematic after crowning, you may need a root canal. Dr. Andrea Stevens
and her team are committed to doing everything in their power to get your teeth healthy again. Book and appointment today to see for yourself!