Tooth enamel is one of the hardest substances in the human body. Still, years of biting, chewing and especially grinding can take their toll and lead to a fractured tooth. Fillings, crowns and veneers can fracture, too. The good news is that fractures can almost always be repaired while preserving your smile. If you think you have fractured a tooth, call us immediately.
Fractures are often caused by sports injuries―that’s why we always advise wearing a mouthguard when you participate in sports. Biting down on something hard, like a popcorn kernel, can also cause a tooth fracture, especially in teeth that have fillings or have had root canals. Grinding or clenching your teeth can leave them vulnerable to fracture, too.
If you suffer a fracture, your tooth may or may not hurt. Often, though, you can feel the fracture with your tongue. A fractured tooth might become sensitive to air, heat or cold. If it does not hurt to bite down on the tooth, but does hurt when you release the bite, that probably means you have fractured that tooth.
A fractured filling may not cause any pain. That’s one of the many reasons why regular dental visits are so important. At each visit, we examine your teeth and any dental work you have had done―crowns, veneers, fillings―looking for cracks, fractures or any signs of wear before they lead to more serious problems.
Although the pieces of a fractured tooth may remain in place, gradually the crack can spread. Depending on its size and extent, we may be able to repair the fracture with filling material. You may need a crown to keep the crack from getting worse. If live tissues are damaged, we may need to perform a root canal.
Fractures should not be taken lightly. If you think you may be at risk for a fracture, talk to us about mouthguards and other preventive measures. And if you have suffered a fracture, call us right away. The sooner we examine and repair your tooth, the better your chances will be for a healthy, long-lasting smile.