How Do I Handle A Cracked Tooth

A cracked or chipped tooth is a common dental issue. It can be caused from anything from a sports injury to biting down on a piece of hard food. Often times, pressure placed on teeth from chewing on ice, teeth grinding at night, or clenching your jaw can lead to small fractures in a tooth that can suddenly lead to chipping or cracks. The first and most important question is: is this a dental emergency? 

If you chipped or cracked tooth is causing pain, swelling, bleeding, or other issues, you need to call a local emergency dentist to help address the problem right away. If the chip or crack is purely cosmetic, you should still see a dentist. In this article, we will go over the causes of cracked/chipped teeth, when to call an emergency dentist, and solutions for chipped and cracked teeth. If you live in the Lewiston Maine area and need to see a dentist, please give us a call. 

What Causes A Tooth To Chip or Crack?

The most common causes of chipped/cracked teeth are trauma to the tooth. This trauma can happen from a sports injury like getting hit in the face by a soccer ball. But it can also be caused by biting on hard food or grinding your teeth. A common reason a tooth might crack or get chipped is because a tooth can get damaged over time. As we age our teeth can get weakened by pressure as well as decay. This can make it easier for fissures to form and for teeth to crack or break.  

Is A Tooth Cracking or Chipping a Dental Emergency?

It depends. Here are a couple of things to consider when a tooth is damaged: 

  • Exposure: If the dentin or tooth pulp is exposed after damage to a tooth, this is an emergency that needs to be handled by a dentist. Dentin is directly under the enamel of a tooth and is yellowish in color. Pulp is even further in the tooth and is pinkish in color. If the chip doesn’t expose either the pulp or dentin, you should still call a dentist and avoid chewing on that tooth. 
  • Pain: If the damage is followed by severe or throbbing pain you should see a dentist right away. You should also see a dentist right away if there is bleeding or swelling near the tooth. 

What To Do If I Crack/Chip My Tooth

After a tooth is chipped or cracked you should call a dentist right away. If you are feeling pain you can use over the counter pain medication as well as an ice pack to reduce swelling.  If you are bleeding you can use gauze. The most important thing is to avoid putting anything in your mouth (especially if your dentin/pulp is exposed) and avoid putting any pressure on your teeth. Getting to a dentist quickly can help address any of the dental issues. 

How Do Dentists Fix A Cracked Chipped Tooth

That will depend on the severity of the chip or crack. Your dentist will likely get information on how the tooth was damaged, examine the tooth, and potentially do an x-ray. Depending on the damage the tooth might be in need of a root canal, crown, filling, or even an extraction. If the damage is purely cosmetic, cosmetic there are treatments like veneers that might be recommended. 

Emergency Dentist in Lewiston Maine

If you live southern Maine and experience any type of dental emergency, please give us a call, we would be happy to help you address any concerns and improve your oral health. 

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