There can be many reasons for cracked or broken teeth.
Some of the reasons for injury to the tooth can be accidents on the road, accidents while playing any kind of robust sports, or accidents whilst working at home. Many a times, cracks develop in the tooth when sudden temperature changes in the mouth occurs while eating very hot food after very cold food, or chewing on very hard foods like ice or hard candies. In some cases, cracks develop because of the dental fillings which are larger than the tooth cavity can accommodate, and because of teeth grinding. Age also is a factor in developing cracks in teeth. After 50 years of age, chances increase for injury or cracks in the teeth of older people.
The cracked teeth can appear in many forms. Tiny cracks that appear on the outer enamel of the tooth are not painful. It is the large cracks in the teeth that goes up to the gums and affecting the jaws need treatment because gum tissues are affected and cause much pain. When the tooth gets split and the crack is extensive, it needs treatment where the tooth may or may not be saved. When the root develops vertical fracture, the crack starts at the root and travels upward. The affected tooth has more possibilities of being extracted.
The cracked or broken teeth become sensitive to heat, cold or sweetness because of the crack or open nerve tissues. Sometimes the gums around it get swollen.
First aid for cracked/broken teeth
What to do immediately after your tooth cracks or breaks loose from the jaws?
- Avoid eating any food immediately after you notice a crack in the tooth.
- Contact your dentist immediately and ask for an emergency appointment if you find your tooth broken and still in the mouth.
- Avoid contact with the affected tooth till you see your dentist.
- Take the broken tooth in a tissue and if possible, keep it safely in milk solution till you see your dentist.
- An uprooted tooth that has come off accidentally in a road mishap, or in sports while playing games, has a chance to be put back in place and allowed to get re connected with the dental tissues by your dentist if done in time.
- So, if a tooth has uprooted, do not throw it away. At lease let your dentist examine it and decide after checking your mouth and gums, whether the broken tooth can be replanted.
- When you notice a crack in the tooth, avoid touching it or eating anything at all, because when the crack is apparent, it may have reached the root of the tooth. Eating may damage the root and the treatment will be more extensive if root gets fractured.
What can you do to relieve pain?
- Get an over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen in brands that is available in your district. Do not take aspirin because it slows blood clotting and create problems in case you need root canal treatment.
- Flossing and removing food particles from between the cracked tooth may ease the pain. You must take care not to pick deep in the cracked tooth.
- Clove oil seems to work because it is a natural anaesthetic. It can be found in most health food stores. To apply the clove oil on the affected tooth you can use a small piece of cotton, and por a little oil on it, then put the oiled cotton on the affected tooth for a few seconds. Be careful not to swallow the oil.
- You can use dental anaesthetic to anesthetize the tooth so that the pain can be reduced.
- Avoid pressurizing the affected tooth by keeping your head elevated while resting.
- Rinse with warm salt water a few times a day till you see your dentist. Salt is natural antiseptic which will remove bacteria from the cracked and broken tooth site.
- When you will see your dentist, he will survey the damage and will try to gauge the severity of the crack. He will then first decide on the treatment with the action where the pain is in control. The pulp which extends from the teeth to the roots, and then is connected to dental tissues surrounding the root. Pulp is an important part of the tooth for a period of time till teeth are growing. Once the teeth are fully developed, the pulp is not missed much. Teeth can survive without the pulp after they are mature. The treatment of pulp is called root canal. The root canal treatment depends on whether the tooth is a temporary tooth or a permanent tooth.
The treatment of broken tooth depends on the age of the person and how deep is the injury to the tooth.
Once you have cracked and broken tooth, you will surely take care that it does not happen again. A few preventive measures will help in guarding you against cracks in injury to the teeth.
How to prevent injuring your tooth
- Avoid eating hard foods like nuts and hard candies
- Do not bite pencils or pens
- Consult your dentist when you feel your dental structures have become weak
- Wear a night guard if you have a habit of grinding teeth in sleep.
- Consider visiting your dentist if you fall on your face and mouth even if you don’t see any bleeding from the teeth.
- Get restoration done to an injured or cracked tooth even if it is not causing any pain at present. Complications may arise if you wait for too long to get your cracked/injured tooth restored.
- Molars are more susceptible for developing pain because they take most of the work of chewing and are in constant pressure. Get the treatment done immediately if you find a crack in any one of your molars.
- Avoid chewing from the side where you find any molar has a crack, till you get the appointment with your dentist.