Is a Cracked Tooth a Dental Emergency?

You bite into a popcorn kernel or some ice and quickly realize that something isn’t right with your tooth. Or, perhaps you have a tooth that can’t support the dental work (fillings, etc.) and a piece breaks loose. Whatever the scenario, a cracked tooth warrants prompt attention to both preserve your tooth and protect it from further damage.

At Aura Dentistry, Drs. Negar Tehrani and Chang Yi head up a team that excels in emergency dentistry, providing the timely services you need to safeguard your dental health. Among the many issues that can crop up in your teeth, cracks are among the most common.

To answer the question we pose in this title, we do consider a cracked tooth a dental emergency and here’s why.

Different types of cracks

Your teeth can crack in myriad ways, including:

Treating each of these cracks depends upon a wide variety of factors, which we discuss next.

Treating cracked teeth

When it comes to cracked teeth, our overriding goal is to save the tooth, which is why you should see us sooner rather than later. The longer the crack exists, the more vulnerable you are to infections that can reach the pulp inside the roots and threaten the entire tooth.

If the crack is minor and you’re not in any pain, we may use dental bonding to restore the shape of the tooth. In some cases, the crack(s) may be so small that no treatment is needed, which is typically the case with craze lines. (Please note that these tiny cracks do put you at a greater risk for developing a more significant crack, so be mindful of not using that tooth to bite into something hard.)

If the crack won’t hold a bond, we will likely prepare your tooth and place a dental crown over the entire structure to protect your tooth.

In some cases, infection may set in despite your best efforts to come see us promptly, and we have to perform a root canal procedure before we install the crown.

If the tooth is irreparably split in two or the crack runs deep into your tooth, the only option may be for us to remove the tooth as it poses more of a liability than an asset at this point.

If we haven’t stressed this enough, if you have a cracked tooth, please contact our office in McLean, Virginia, as quickly as possible so that we can take the necessary steps to preserve your dental health.

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