With the Holidays just around the corner, many people will inevitably be making unplanned trips to their Jacksonville, Florida dentist with a dental emergency. One of the most common sources of dental trauma we see this time of year is cracked teeth. Whether it was from the unfortunate and too-late discovery of a pecan shell in the pie, or trying to tear open a package of turkey seasonings, cracked teeth can happen at any time. While our teeth are one of the strongest tissues in our bodies, they are not impervious to trauma.
This holiday season Dr. Shields wants you to understand how teeth crack, what you can do to prevent trauma, and what you should do if your tooth does crack this turkey day.
How Tooth Cracks Happen
The tooth is made up of three layers of bone tissue. The outermost layer is called enamel and this is the strongest substance in the body. It protects the nerves in the teeth from sugars, acids, extreme temperatures, bacteria, and more. Underneath the enamel is the layer called dentin. Dentin is a much more porous bone tissue and contains some nerves. The final layer of tooth is called the pulp, this is where blood is supplied to the tooth to keep a constant stream of calcium and vitamins tapped in as well as where the majority of the nerves are.
Cracks happen when the enamel is weakened and breaks. Enamel can become brittle and susceptible to cracking with age, poor oral hygiene, and even genetics. When undue pressure is put on our teeth they can crack, when the enamel is compromised this can happen very easily. Biting down on hard things, such as wayward nut shells, utensils, bones, and ice can easily add pressure to a tooth and cause a crack. Another major reason dental cracks occur is because people insist on using their teeth when a tool would do a better job. Using your teeth to open packages, or for anything other than eating can increase your risk of cracking a tooth significantly. This holiday season if you can remember only one thing, remember to use scissors when appropriate and only use your teeth to chew.
Preventing Fractured and Cracked Teeth
While there are circumstances you could never foresee that can crack your tooth, like taking a football to the face in your traditional after-dinner family scrimmage, there are things you can do make sure your teeth are as strong as possible. You can prevent weak teeth by maintaining your daily oral health routine. By brushing your teeth for two minutes twice daily and flossing once each day, you can remove the bacteria that weakens your enamel every day. Chewing xylitol gum after meals is another way you can remove the sugar and acids from your teeth during the day to keep your enamel as healthy as possible. Strong enamel can resist most causes of cracks, so by keeping your enamel strong every day you can help prevent cracks in your teeth and ruining your holiday.
What to do if You Do Crack Your Tooth
As we said before, you cannot prevent all cracks to your teeth. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent dental trauma. The good news is that a cracked tooth is an easy fix for your Jacksonville, Florida dentist, but keeping your composure will make her job much easier. When you crack your tooth make sure to clean the area and keep sugar and decay-causing foods away from the tooth as much as possible. Do this by brushing your teeth, gently, after it has cracked. If it is too painful to brush, rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. Next call our office and schedule an appointment. We will do our best to get you in as soon as possible. If we are closed, make sure that you keep the area clean until the dentist can see you.
What We Do to Care For Your Cracked Tooth
Cracked teeth are painful and prohibitive for our patients. If you crack your tooth, we know how serious the issue can be and will get you in the office as soon as possible to fix the situation. Cracks can compromise the enamel even more and lead to chips and breaks which can expose the sensitive dentin and pulp of the tooth. Further, even if a crack is not painful, it can create a perfect place for bacteria to proliferate and decay to develop. If you have a cracked tooth your Jacksonville, Florida dentist will most likely seal the crack with a composite resin. After she has cleaned it and ensured that there is no decay to compromise the tooth, she can bond this resin to the tooth and make the seam undetectable. If the crack is quite severe, a crown, or inlay may be necessary, it all depends on the degree of trauma.
If you have cracked or chipped your tooth this holiday season, make sure to contact your Jacksonville, Florida dentist to treat right away.
Fixing a crack in November can mean protecting your teeth for the festivities set in December. Happy Thanksgiving!