A cracked tooth is a serious dental problem. It often causes severe pain, and it can lead to infection or even tooth loss when left untreated. A cracked tooth can be caused by grinding your teeth or biting down on something hard. No matter what caused your tooth injury, here are four steps you can take to treat it.
1. Call your dentist immediately.
You should call your dentist as soon as you notice a cracked tooth. In most cases, your dentist will be able to see you on that same day for an emergency dental appointment.
Even if you aren't feeling any pain, x-rays are essential. Your dentist will use them to survey the damage and make a plan of action for your treatment. If the crack is superficial and not compromising the integrity of the tooth, your dentist may recommend leaving it alone unless it causes you pain.
2. Schedule a root canal.
If the crack in your tooth is deep enough that it has compromised your tooth's nerves and roots, your dentist may recommend root canal therapy. During this treatment, your dentist will numb your tooth before manually removing the roots of your teeth and replace the roots with filling material. Many patients are apprehensive when they learn that they'll need a root canal, but medical advancements mean that root canals are now performed with virtually no pain to the patient.
3. Be gentle with your temporary crown.
After your root canal, your dentist will place a temporary dental crown over the tooth they treated. This crown is meant to keep bacteria and plaque away from the damaged tooth. Remember that temporary crowns aren't as durable as their permanent counterparts, so be gentle with it.
Don't chew gum or anything sticky until your temporary crown is removed. You should also avoid chewing anything hard that might damage your temporary crown and the somewhat fragile tooth below. Always use common sense and err on the side of caution.
4. Have your permanent dental crown put in place.
Finally, see a dentist who offers dental crown services to complete the procedure. They will remove the temporary crown before attaching your permanent crown and fit the dental crown over your tooth without adhesive first in order to check the fit. If everything looks good, your dentist will finally use adhesive to create a bond between the crown and your tooth.