Though less common than cavities, fractured teeth can result in pain and increase the risk of related oral health problems. During your dental exam at Artistic Expressions Dentistry, Dr. Bruce Wilderman will check the teeth for cracks and other dental problems. If we find that you have a fractured tooth, Dr. Wilderman will recommend the appropriate restorative dentistry treatment to improve your oral health. To undergo treatment for a fractured tooth, contact our Philadelphia, PA practice today.
Causes of Tooth Fractures
Tooth fractures can be caused by a range of factors, including bruxism, large fillings, trauma, tooth misalignment, and bad dental habits.
Bruxism is a condition in which patients habitually grind and clench their teeth. This places an excessive amount of pressure on the teeth, specifically the molars.
Large fillings weaken the teeth and can make them more prone to breakage. Patients with amalgam fillings face a higher risk of tooth fractures compared to those with composite fillings. This is because the silver amalgam material expands and contracts in response to temperature changes.
Trauma is one of the leading causes of tooth fractures. An injury to the mouth may occur during sports activities; for example, an athlete may collide with another player, sports equipment, or the ground. Other accidents, such as a fall or auto accident, can also result in cracked teeth.
Tooth misalignment can result in tooth fractures when patients have an uneven bite. In these cases, more pressure is placed on certain teeth, increasing the risk of fractures.
Bad dental habits, such as regularly chewing on ice and opening bottles with your teeth, can cause tooth fractures.
Symptoms of Tooth Fractures
The symptoms of a fractured tooth includes:
- A sharp, shooting pain through the tooth when chewing or biting down. Typically, the pain goes away when pressure is released on the affected tooth.
- The tooth is sensitive to temperature changes; patients often experience pain when drinking an ice-cold beverage or taking a bite of hot soup.
- The tooth is sensitive to sweet or sugary foods, such as honey or candy.
Treatment for Tooth Fractures
Preventing tooth fractures is the best course of action. If you suffer from bruxism or you are an athlete, we recommend that you be fitted with a custom mouth guard. For patients with bruxism, the mouth guard can be worn at night while you sleep, when most teeth grinding occurs. For athletes, the mouth guard can be worn while playing sports to prevent injury to the hard and soft tissues of the mouth.
If we find that one of your teeth has already be fractured, we may recommend one of the following treatments:
- Composites: The tooth-colored composite resin that is used to fill in dental cavities can also be used to fill in fractures.
- Dental crowns: A porcelain dental crown can be placed over your fractured tooth to provide strength and support. This treatment is ideal for severe cracks that compromise the structure of the tooth.
- Root canal therapy: If the fracture allowed bacteria to reach the root canals of the tooth, we will recommend root canal therapy to clean out the roots and restore the health of the tooth. Root canal therapy is followed by placement of a dental crown.
- Tooth extraction: If we can’t restore the crown of the tooth, we can refer you to an oral surgeon for tooth extraction. We can then replace the tooth with a dental implant-supported restoration or a traditional bridge.
To undergo treatment for a fractured tooth, contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry.