So you’ve always enjoyed eating nuts — almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts and more. But, horror of horrors! One day, while biting into one particularly tough but delicious honey-coated almond, you hear a tiny cracking sound from your mouth and realize, oops! That’s not the almond; it’s your tooth.
You look in the mirror and check all your molars (at least, the ones you can clearly see), and here it is: A tiny crack in one of your tooth. You’ve always taken very good care of your teeth, and now this. The first question to haunt you, then, is “Can the dentist save my tooth?”
Can my tooth be saved?
If the injury is minor and affects only the enamel (the hardened external layer of your teeth), it is usually referred to by dentists as a “craze line.” This type of tooth injury is pretty easy to manage. All your dentist has to do is buff or polish the affected tooth to ensure it appears normal, just like the others, and you can keep using it normally as well without any further treatments. You need to give your teeth extra TLC, of course.
But if the injury goes deeper than the enamel, it has to be treated to prevent it from getting infected and to not worsen the fracture. So your affected tooth will require some form of endodontic therapy and, depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist (or endodontist) can recommend a particular mode of treatment.
What procedures or treatments are required to save my tooth?
Some cases, the crack is still minor but also requires filling to ensure the injury doesn’t get any worse. Other types of tooth injury such as the following may require very specific treatments:
This usually happens when part of the chewing surface of the tooth breaks off. Since this rarely affects the pulp, your dentist may use a filling or dental crown to save your tooth.
When you have a cracked tooth, it implies the crack line has vertically extended below the chewing surface. If it has reached the tooth root, a root canal will be recommended. Additionally, the application of a crown to ensure the crack doesn’t get any worse. However, if the crack has reached that part below the gum line, treatment is no longer an option, so the dentist will have to perform a tooth extraction.
This type is usually the result of the progressive worsening of an untreated tooth crack whereby the fissure has extended vertically to the rest of the tooth, effectively splitting the tooth into two segments. In this case, saving the tooth may no longer be an option, and a tooth extraction would be recommended. However, if a portion of the tooth can still be saved, your dentist may recommend some form of endodontic therapy.
Vertical root fracture
These cracks start the opposite way and grow from the tooth root. Usually, a tooth extraction is recommended. However, your dentist determines that it is still possible to save a portion of your tooth.
Whatever type of injury your tooth is afflicted with, if you experience any type of tooth pain, just be sure to schedule an appointment get your teeth checked by Dr. Farhat.