Depending on its severity, a broken or cracked tooth might not be an “emergency.” However, it is always serious enough that you’re going to want to pay a visit to a cosmetic dentist in Jacksonville. Before you can make it to Dr. Tiffany Shields’ office, here is how you can care for a cracked tooth.
Types of Tooth Fractures
There are three different classifications of cracked teeth: Small, medium and large fractures.
- Small: This is a crack in the enamel on the outside of the tooth. It may or may not be painful, and might not even be visible.
- Medium: This is a crack that extends through the enamel, but stops at the underlying dentin layer of the tooth. If a tooth suddenly becomes sensitive, it can be a sign of a medium fracture.
- Large: This is a big and most likely painful fracture that extends all the way through the tooth to the pulp. If it involves pain and/or bleeding, you most likely have a large tooth fracture.
Immediate Care for a Cracked Tooth
It’s important to take immediate steps when you have a cracked tooth, because it will only get worse over time. A cracked tooth can become decayed and you might even lose the tooth eventually.
First, rinse your mouth with some warm water to clean the area around the cracked tooth. If it starts to swell, apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek (next to the affected tooth and gums). Take an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, if there is any pain.
Sometimes a cracked tooth will have a sharp edge that can poke or scratch your tongue or the inside of the cheek. Apply a piece of wax paraffin to the tooth if you have some, to prevent it from cutting you. Sticking a piece of sugar-free gum to the tooth can work as well. Keep in mind that this is a temporary remedy until you can make it to Dr. Tiffany Shields’ Jacksonville clinic.
Once you have taken immediate care of the cracked tooth, your very next step should be to call our office to schedule an appointment. A cracked tooth is a serious issue that should be cared for as quickly as possible.
Avoid biting down on the affected tooth when you have to eat. Also, stick to soft foods and avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that has the cracked tooth.
How We Care for a Cracked Tooth
Cracked teeth are just one of the dental problems we handle at Smiles by Shields. The type of treatment that you receive for a cracked tooth really depends on the extent of the damage, and whether it is a small, medium, or large fracture.
For a small fracture, a dental veneer might be all that is needed to seal the tooth and make it look perfectly healthy. A veneer is a thin shell made of porcelain or resin. Additionally, it is color-matched with the rest of your teeth and bonded to the cracked tooth.
If you have a large fracture and it has gone untreated for a while, a root canal might be necessary. If the exposed tooth pulp has become damaged or diseased, Dr. Tiffany Shields will remove the dead pulp, clean the roots of that tooth, and then seal it.
Whether you need a root canal or not, the final solution for most cracked teeth will be a dental crown. A crown is a type of cap that is shaped and colored to match the affected tooth and then cemented in place, on the tooth. This seals the root pulp and preserves your natural tooth.
At Smiles by Shields, we can provide both traditional crowns and CEREC same-day crowns. A traditional crown usually requires two visits in order to prepare the tooth and have a specialized crown made off-site. A temporary crown will be put in place until you come back for a second visit to have the permanent crown applied. CEREC same-day crowns are exactly what they sound like. The crown is fashioned here in our office and applied the same day.
Call Us if You Have a Cracked Tooth in Jacksonville, FL
A cracked tooth is always serious, even if it is not an immediate medical emergency. Contact our cosmetic dentistry office in Jacksonville right away if you experience a cracked or broken tooth. Smiles by Shields is happy to get you back to smiling with confidence!