The outermost coating of our teeth is made of enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. Despite this, a broken tooth is not an uncommon phenomenon. You may break your teeth due to several reasons such as biting hard items, during accidents, excessive grinding or clenching habit, falling on the face, or old fillings in the tooth, which make it brittle and prone to breakage. What happens if a broken tooth is left untreated?
Whatever may be the underlying cause, a cracked tooth needs the assistance of a dentist and can only be treated at a dental practice, not a home by basic remedies. You must not delay visiting a dentist because the sooner the treatment is initiated, the better will be the prognosis. Undue delay will lead to worsening of the condition, and a simple broken tooth, which could have otherwise been treated and healed, leads to damaging other surrounding structures of the oral cavity.
Your tooth may be partially cracked, or maybe completely broken. It is easy to identify a tooth with a visibly broken part, but a minor crack in the tooth could camouflage with the ridges of the crown and be unnoticeable.
What Symptoms Do You Have If Your Tooth Is Cracked?
The most obvious symptom of a cracked tooth is pain and severe sensitivity. When you try to eat or bite something, you will experience a sharp shooting pain that will radiate all over. The pain will be exacerbated on exposure to any hot or cold item. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the tooth involved.
If root canals are involved, it will be a dramatically painful condition, and if it extends even beyond, up to the gum line, the tooth cannot be saved and has to be extracted. Thus, you must recognize your condition and visit the dentist at the earliest possible to get your tooth repaired.
What Measures Can You Take Before Reaching The Dentist?
If a minor crack is left unnoticed for a long time, it may ultimately progress to the fracture of teeth. In such a condition you need to visit a dentist soon. Some of the steps you can take to give temporary relief.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water and remove any debris or dirt which may be present in your mouth.
- If there is considerable bleeding, compress the area with a clean cotton gauge.
- -You can apply an ice pack/cold compress over the cheek in the area over the broken tooth
- Over-the-counter analgesics, such as aspirin, can be taken for pain relief.
- Use chewing gum or dental wax to cover the sharp edges of the broken tooth temporarily.
- If any piece of the broken tooth is present, keep them in a small neat, and tidy container.
Can A Broken Tooth Be Saved?
If you visit the dentist in time and the extent of the break is not up to the gum line, the tooth can practically be saved by other dental procedures. The advent of cosmetic dentistry and dental prostheses has significantly contributed towards the almost invisible restoration of minor breaks or cracks.
The dentist will first examine your mouth and take a few scans and X-rays that would help him to identify the extent of the break.
If root canals are involved, root canal treatment could be performed, followed by crown placement. There are several other options available suggested by Conway House Dental Practice (NHS Certified Practice) such as white fillings, dental veneers, cosmetic bonding, or dental implants that will help you in the amelioration of the condition.
What happens if a broken tooth is left untreated?
- If your tooth is broken for a long time, and you did not seek any dental care, then it becomes highly susceptible to getting infected by the bacteria. The crack serves as a pathway for the microbes to invade your tooth and reach the tissue layer beneath the enamel. In this way, the dentin, cementum, and even the root pulp can get infected.
- The infection might progress to the development of an abscess in or around the broken tooth. The formation of this abscess is an extremely painful condition and will lead to the restriction of oral movement. This is an acute oral condition that requires emergency dental care and surgical intervention. The abscess has to be aspirated or drained by making an incision, which is performed under anesthesia.
- If your root canal gets infected, a root canal treatment has to be performed, which involves the conversion of the entire tooth into a hollow access cavity from which the infection is removed. It is then followed by filling with a restorative material and a crown placement to prevent its spillage.
- There is a potential danger to even your tongue and other soft tissues around the broken tooth because the rugged and uneven edges are sharp enough to cause lacerations of the soft tissue. This may lead to excessive hemorrhage or infection in these areas.
- In some cases, where the break is large enough to expose the nerve endings of your tooth, it may develop pressure and temperature sensitivity. In this condition, eating any hard material that generates pressure on your tooth, or any hot/cold item leads to severe sensitivity.
Thus, it becomes very important to see your dentist at the earliest possible if you have any degree of crack within your teeth. A simple crack only over the enamel might not cause any trouble initially, but with the progress of time, it may make your teeth brittle and lead to their complete breakage.
If your teeth become infected and necrosed, it has to be extracted and could not be saved. Also, it may get infected and pose threats to your life, but this is very rare.
So, you should identify your condition precisely and visit a dentist and get proper treatment for your cracked, chipped, or broken tooth. There are ways where you would not even be able to identify the restoration, which is done in a completely natural way.
“Life is short, smile while you still have teeth.”