Teeth are strong, but chips and cracks can still happen. There are several reasons as to why a tooth may chip or crack. Depending on the severity and location of the damage, it can be quite painful as well as affect the appearance of your smile.
In this article, we discuss the difference between a chipped and cracked tooth, the common causes and why you shouldn’t ignore it. We also explain some of the treatment options available to you and how Beaches Dental Mona Vale can help.
Cracked Tooth Vs. Chipped Tooth
It is possible to chip your tooth without knowing. A chip is usually more superficial than a crack. A chip may only involve the enamel or may extend into the dentine. A chipped tooth doesn’t necessarily have symptoms unless the chip is big enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of your tooth.
A crack in your tooth, on the other hand, usually extends through part of the tooth and can involve multiple parts of it. Cracked teeth often create pain when you chew on it or bite hard things due to the tooth cusps flexing. Left untreated, a crack in your tooth can extend to the nerve and even down the tooth root.
What May Cause A Chipped or Cracked Tooth
There are a few reasons why your tooth may chip or crack. The common causes of a chipped or cracked tooth are similar and are usually as a result of trauma, such as:
- Grinding and/or clenching your teeth
- Taking a knock to the mouth (during sports, for example)
- Biting down on something hard
- Large dental fillings or extensively filled teeth
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Chipped or Cracked Tooth
You may not feel any immediate pain from a chip or crack in your tooth, especially if it’s small. Even though it may not be bothering you right now, you shouldn’t ignore it. A chipped or cracked tooth may need dental treatment to avoid further damage.
A chip in your tooth can result in sharp, jagged edges that can hurt your tongue and the inside of your cheeks. Chips and cracks that start small may increase in severity over time. Your tooth can become increasingly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures as well as pressure from chewing. This can make eating and drinking difficult.
A chip or crack in your tooth can expose the inner layers of your tooth, making it more susceptible to decay. Depending on the depth of the chip or crack, it can become easier for bacteria to reach your tooth’s pulp. This can lead to discomfort and the need for major dental treatment down the track.
Whilst a chip or crack in your tooth might seem insignificant, it can worsen over time. In their early stages, chips and cracks can have simple fixes. So, it’s best to seek dental care as soon as you become aware of a chip or crack in your tooth.
The treatment options for a chipped tooth will depend on the size of the chip. If it’s very small, your dentist may be able to smooth it down by polishing. Bigger chips may be treated with dental fillings or a crown to restore your tooth’s function and appearance.
If you have a very small crack in your tooth, it may not need treating. Otherwise, dental bonding can be used to repair it. If the crack in your tooth is significant and your tooth’s pulp has been damaged as a result, you may need a root canal treatment and a crown. This prevents further infection and seals your tooth.
The treatment option that is best for you will depend on your specific case and be subject to a thorough dental assessment.
Northern Beaches Dentist
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, you shouldn’t delay seeking dental care. If you’re looking for a Northern Beaches dentist who can help you, visit us at Beaches Dental Mona Vale. Our experienced dental team is here to take care of your oral health and tend to your dental needs, whether they’re big or small.
Contact our friendly front-desk team to make an appointment.