The decision on whether to extract a cracked tooth is complex. Dentists typically consider tooth extraction only when a tooth is extensively decayed and beyond repair. The appropriate treatment depends on the severity of the crack, and it’s incorrect to assume that tooth extraction is the default solution for all cracks without a thorough assessment of the specific situation. In this article from your Fairview dentist, we compiled this comprehensive guide on cracked teeth, highlighting key signs of when your cracked tooth can be saved, and when there is a need for an extraction of your cracked tooth.
While the symptoms you’re experiencing suggest a cracked tooth, a definitive diagnosis requires an assessment by a dentist. For cracked teeth, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial, offering the best chance of saving the tooth from extraction. Once diagnosed, your dentist will discuss suitable treatment options, ranging from dental bonding for minor cracks like chipped teeth, root canal treatment for more extensive damage, or if the tooth is not salvageble, a tooth extraction. A dentist may employ various diagnostic methods, including:
When a tooth is cracked, the decision to pull it or not depends on several factors. Your dentist will evaluate the extent of the crack, its location, and the condition of the tooth. If the damage is minor and doesn’t extend to the root, your dentist may suggest treatments such as dental bonding or a dental crown to restore the tooth’s structure.
However, if the crack is deep, extends below the gum line, or compromises the tooth’s integrity such as a split tooth, an extraction may be necessary. In such cases, your dentist will discuss replacement options like dental implants or bridges to maintain the functionality and aesthetics of your smile. It’s important to note that each case is different, and your dentist will guide you through the best course of action for your specific situation.
Infection: When a cracked tooth gives rise to an infection, it becomes a critical situation that often demands tooth extraction. Infections can lead to serious consequences, and extraction is a proactive measure to contain the spread of infection to adjacent teeth, preventing further complications.
Overcrowding: Overcrowding is another scenario where extraction may be considered. A cracked tooth, especially if left unaddressed, can contribute to misalignment or overcrowding issues in the dental arch. In such cases, extracting the compromised tooth might be recommended to maintain the overall alignment and health of the remaining teeth.
Damage: Extensive damage that affects the tooth’s structural integrity is a common reason for extraction. If there are severe cracks that compromise the tooth’s ability to function properly, such as a vertical crack that extends from the chewing surface towards the root, attempting to save the tooth with restorative procedures like crowns may not be possible. In such instances, extraction becomes necessary to remove the damaged tooth and prevent any further complications that could affect the surrounding oral structures. A consultations with your dentist will be able to evaluate the condition of a cracked tooth and determine the most suitable course of action.
Understanding the options for replacing an extracted tooth is crucial for maintaining dental function, oral health, and aesthetics. Here are some dental restoration options.
Dental Implants: Dental implants provide a natural-looking and durable replacement for missing teeth. They involve surgically placing a titanium implant into the jawbone, providing a stable foundation for a crown.
Dental Bridges: Dental bridges involve placing an artificial tooth (pontic) between two existing teeth, filling the gap left by the extracted tooth.
Partial Dentures: Partial dentures are removable appliances that replace one or more missing teeth. They are secured with clasps or attachments to surrounding natural teeth.
It is important to understand that cracks in teeth can vary in severity and type. Some cracks may not cause immediate problems and be only superficial, while others can extend deep into the tooth and lead to complications. Early intervention can help prevent further damage and address any underlying causes. Below are some common reasons why teeth may become cracked:
Chewing Hard Objects: Biting down on hard objects such as ice, popcorn kernels, or hard candies can lead to cracks in teeth.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Persistent grinding or clenching of teeth, often during sleep, can exert excessive force and cause cracks over time.
Trauma: Dental injuries like accidents, falls, or any impact to the face can cause teeth to crack. This can happen during sports activities, car accidents, or other traumatic events.
Large Fillings: Teeth with large fillings are more susceptible to cracks, especially if the filling material and tooth expand and contract at different rates.
Temperature Changes: Rapid and extreme changes in temperature, such as consuming hot beverages followed by cold ones, can cause teeth to contract and expand, leading to cracks.
Age: As teeth age, they may become more prone to cracks due to wear and tear.
Brittle Teeth: Some individuals naturally have teeth that are more brittle, making them susceptible to cracking.
Weakened Tooth Structure: Teeth with weakened enamel or structural abnormalities may be more prone to cracking.
Improper Bite: An improper bite, where the teeth don’t align correctly, can cause uneven pressure on certain teeth, making them more susceptible to cracks.
Excessive Force: Using teeth for purposes other than chewing, such as opening packages or bottles, can subject them to excessive force and result in cracks.
Habits: Certain repetitive actions like constant gum or ice chewing can contribute to tooth cracks.
Previous dental treatment: Treatments like root canals may weaken teeth, increasing the likelihood of fractures.
It’s important to note that not all cracked teeth exhibit symptoms, and some cracks may be identified during routine dental exams. If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect a cracked tooth, it’s crucial to seek prompt dental attention.
Pain While Chewing: Sharp pain or discomfort when biting or chewing is a common symptom of a cracked tooth. The pressure placed on the crack during these activities can cause pain.
Intermittent Discomfort: The pain associated with a cracked tooth may not be constant. It could come and go, making it challenging to identify the source of the problem.
Tooth Sensitivity to Hot or Cold: Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, particularly when consuming food or beverages, can be a sign of a cracked tooth. The crack may expose the nerve, leading to heightened sensitivity.
Pain When Releasing the Bite: Releasing the bite after chewing can cause pain in a cracked tooth. This is because the pressure is released, and the crack may open slightly.
Swollen Gums: In some cases, a cracked tooth can lead to inflammation and swelling in the surrounding gums.
Discomfort When Eating Sweet Foods: Cracked teeth may be sensitive to sweet foods. The exposure of the tooth‘s nerve can result in discomfort when consuming sugary substances.
Visible Crack Lines: In some instances, the crack may be visible to the naked eye or detectable through dental imaging. However, not all cracks are easily visible.
Yes, if you’ve cracked a tooth it is necessary to see a dentist as soon as possible. Seeing a dentist promptly helps limit the severity of the situation and prevent potential complications, like infection or the loss of the tooth.
If a cracked tooth is left untreated, it can lead to infection at the root of the tooth. It can also lead to pain when chewing and further damage to the portion of the tooth and surrounding teeth. In worst-case scenarios, it can result in the loss of the tooth.
To avoid having a broken tooth extracted, it’s essential that you see your dentist as soon as you suspect you’ve cracked a tooth. Timely treatment can often save a tooth from needing to be extracted. Also, maintaining good dental hygiene can help prevent issues that might lead to the need for extraction.
The most effective treatment for a cracked tooth depends largely on the location and extent of the crack. If a smaller part of the tooth is affected, a filling or crown can be used to protect the tooth. More severe cases might require endodontic treatment, such as root canal therapy. In some cases, however, the tooth might need to be removed altogether.
The dentist will first numb the area around the broken tooth to minimise discomfort. Using special dental tools, they will then gently move the tooth until it is loose enough to remove from the gum. If the tooth is broken in such a way that it’s difficult to remove, the dentist might need to break it into smaller pieces to extract it.
Regular dental visits, maintaining good dental hygiene, and using mouth-guards when playing contact sports can help to protect your teeth from becoming cracked or broken. You should also try to avoid chewing on hard foods or objects like ice or pencils, as these can lead to cracked teeth.
Understanding whether a fractured tooth needs to be pulled involves considering various factors, from the severity of the crack to the overall health of the patient. If you suspect a cracked tooth or experience persistent dental pain, seek professional help promptly.
As your local dentist near the Allen and Fairview areas, we are here to help you with any questions or concerns that you might have about a broken tooth or tooth restoration options. Feel free to contact us for a consultation appointment, and we’ll be happy to help with your dental care. To schedule your appointment, contact Sloan Creek Dental, and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you. You can reach us at our Fairview, TX dental office to schedule an in-person consultation with us today – 972-468-1440.