If you have a chipped tooth, you might not feel any tooth pain unless the chip is large enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of the tooth. If a chipped tooth exposes the nerves inside a tooth, you might notice increased tooth sensitivity and pain when chewing or when the chipped tooth is exposed to very hot or very cold food and beverages. You might need a crown or a dental onlay to restore the shape of the tooth and prevent further damage or decay.
A cracked tooth might affect only the tooth enamel, or it might affect the entire tooth down to the root. You might only notice pain from a cracked tooth when chewing, or when the temperature in your mouth changes as you eat something hot or cold. But it is important to see a dental professional as soon as possible after you notice a cracked tooth, so it can be evaluated and treated if necessary.
Diagnosing a Chipped or Broken Tooth
At Metro City Dentistry, your dentist can make a diagnosis of a broken tooth via visible inspection of your mouth. They will also take into account your symptoms and ask you about events that may have caused the chipping.
Broken Tooth Treatment Options
The treatment your dentist gives you for a chipped or broken tooth depends on the severity, location and symptoms. Unless a chipped tooth is causing severe pain and significantly interfering with eating and sleeping, it’s not considered a dental emergency but you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to avoid infection or further damage to the tooth.
If it’s a small chip, your dentist may smooth out the sharp edge and polish it. With a moderate chip, your dentist may need to place a filling or a crown over the chipped tooth so you can chew normally and have a natural appearance. If the chip is large enough that the nerve is exposed, you will probably need a root canal and then a crown on top of that.
A mildly cracked tooth may not need treatment, but it’s safest to visit a dental professional. They may have to simply polish the tooth to smooth out rough edges. However, with a more serious crack, the crack may have gotten to the root.
And if it has cracked through the enamel and dentin of the tooth, it may become loose, leading to a lost tooth or bleeding gums. Depending on the severity, a cracked tooth may require a root canal or tooth bonding.