Dental injuries such as a cracked tooth can be frightening. The worst thing about it is sometimes it can happen unexpectedly. When a tooth has cracked, the first concern is understanding the severity of the issue before wondering whether the cracked tooth has become dangerous and would need to be extracted.
However, there is no straight answer to that question. There are ways to prevent tooth extraction in some circumstances. One example is to purchase a dental mouthguard to protect teeth. Ultimately, the severity of the crack is what will determine the best form of treatment. Just because a tooth cracks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be extracted.
What Do I Do Next?
As soon as a tooth has cracked or you feel some sharp sensitive pain, you must consult the dentist as soon as possible. Upon your emergency visit, the dentist will aim to understand the following:
- The state of your overall oral health
- The length of the crack in the tooth
- Is the tooth severely decayed?
- Are you at greater risk of gum disease?
- The probability of infection is small
These are pre-requisites that the dentist must determine as part of your initial oral examination at your emergency appointment.
Depending on the answer, the dentist will put forward one of the following treatments depending on the results of your initial examination.
When Is Root Canal Chosen?
If the results of your oral examination at your check-up returns results where the state of your overall oral health is positive, and the length of the crack is minor and has not forced its way to down to the gum line, then the tooth has not decayed. This means there is less risk of gum disease and infection and root canal treatment will be recommended.
Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that treats any infection that has occurred in the tooth structure, typically for a cracked or broken tooth. The treatment involves removing the infected pulp inside the tooth. The tooth is then disinfected, cleaned and sealed. The root canal is enlarged for a temporary filling to be applied and sealed. At a second appointment, the pre-prepared crown is moulded to fit into the affected area with cement to complete the treatment.
When Is Tooth Extraction Chosen?
If the results of your oral examination at your check-up returns results where the state of your overall health is poor, and the length of the crack is right through the tooth and touches the gum line, then the tooth has severely decayed. This increases the chances of gum disease and infection and tooth extraction treatment will be recommended.
Tooth extraction is necessary in this instance in order to protect your neighboured teeth from becoming infected. Extraction treatment is completed under local anaesthesia to numb the affected area. The surgeon is expected to break the tooth down into smaller parts to make it easier to remove. Removal of the tooth is complete with safe forceps equipment and the surgeon will rock the remains of the teeth slowly until it loosens out from its socket. Aftercare involves avoiding any activity for the first few days after treatment so that a blood clot forms over the affected area.
Alternatively, if you’re wondering how tooth extraction treatment is performed for a broken or cracked tooth, read here.
If you’re seeking treatment for a cracked tooth at your local dentist, contact us here and we’d be happy to help.