Repairing Chipped Or Broken Teeth

How Do You Chip or Crack Your Teeth?

Enamel, which covers your teeth and is the hardest substance in your body, has its limits. If you chew on hard candy, ice, bite down hard, receive a blow to your face, or grind your teeth in your sleep, your teeth can chip or crack. Poor hygiene and cavities can also weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to being chipped or cracked. You may not even feel any tooth pain when you chip a tooth unless it’s large enough to expose the inner layer of your tooth. A cracked tooth might only affect the enamel, and it would not feel pain unless you bite down hard or when the temperature in your mouth changes. Many times you won’t be able to see a crack with the naked eye. This is why when your general dentist refers you it’s so important to schedule you appointment with Dr. Grossman or Dr. Geisler, because with the use of the Surgical Microscope, they have a better chance of possibly seeing the cause of the problem.

What Types Of Broken Or Chipped Teeth Would Dr. Grossman Recommend Fixing?

Craze lines are tiny cracks in the outer layer of your enamel only. They’re very common in adults. They are extremely shallow and they don’t cause pain. While not cosmetically pleasing, they’re not dangerous. Craze lines do not require treatment.

A fractured cusp is a fracture at the point of a tooth on the chewing surface. A cusp can become weakened and either break off on its own or it may need to be removed by Dr. Grossman or your general dentist. Removing it usually relieves the pain. Fractured cusps rarely damage the pulp of your tooth, so root canal treatment is usually not necessary. To repair the tooth back to normal, Dr. Grossman or Dr. Geisler may recommend that you return to your general dentist for a crown to try protect the tooth from further fracture.

With cracked teeth, some cracks extend all the way from the chewing surface down into the root of your tooth. Depending on the position of the crack, damage to the pulp can happen. In many cases, Dr. Grossman would recommend root canal treatment to fix a cracked tooth as long as the crack has not gotten too deep. A deep crack would make the prognosis of the tooth hopeless and it would have to be extracted.

A split tooth happens when a tooth is cracked and, over time, the crack progresses until the tooth eventually splits into two separate parts. The prognosis of the tooth is then hopeless and it would have to be extracted.

Vertical root fractures can be tricky. Because the fracture line may not be visible, Dr. Grossman or Dr. Geisler has to pay special attention to your symptoms in order to identify if you have one. Vertical root fractures are some of the most difficult fractures to identify. They can sometimes be fixed through endodontic treatment if they do not go through the attachment of the gum and into the bone. Rarely, it is sometimes possible to save part of the tooth, but in most cases, the tooth needs to be removed.

How To Prevent Cracked or Chipped Teeth

It is difficult to completely prevent chipped or cracked teeth because almost everyone ends up with it eventually. Here are a few ideas that Dr. Grossman suggests to prevent unnecessary damage:

  • Don’t chew on ice, popcorn kernels, pens, hard candy, or other hard objects.
  • Don’t clench or grind your teeth.
  • If you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, speak with your general dentist about getting a retainer or mouthguard.
  • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.

If you would like a closer examination of your teeth, or if your general dentist has referred you, then give us a call to schedule a consultation appointment.