Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and its rating on the Mohs Hardness Scale makes it harder than steel. Around 96% of it consists of densely packed minerals in a network of complex crystals that are a thousand times smaller than a strand of hair.
Given this, you’d think it would be impossible to break your tooth enamel—but we’re here to tell you that’s not the case! Here at our dental office in Georgetown, we see plenty of patients with chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. The experience can be a stressful and worrying one, but the truth is that you have many options to support your teeth’s natural enamel when it needs some extra help.
If you’re concerned about possible cracking or chipping in your teeth, here’s what you should know.
How Can You Tell if You Have a Cracked or Chipped Tooth?
First things first: how do you know when cosmetic procedures or a tooth replacement might be necessary? Understanding the appearance, signs, and symptoms of a cracked or chipped tooth can help.
Cracked Teeth vs. Craze Lines
It’s worth noting that our teeth often develop small lines across the surface as we age. These imperfections, called “craze lines,” happen with normal wear and tear, and they don’t represent dental emergencies. That’s because these lines are minor changes to the enamel of your teeth, and they often do not penetrate your inner tooth, or dentin.
Again, these imperfections aren’t an immediate health risk. However, if the appearance of these lines bothers you, it’s easy to fix the issue with one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
If your tooth is cracked, on the other hand, it can be a major risk to your oral health. In many cases, you may know you’ve damaged a tooth the instant it happens—especially because it often leads to pain. You may experience a variety of symptoms, including the following:
- Chronic but erratic pain, especially when chewing
- Increased temperature sensitivity around certain teeth
- Increased sensitivity to sweet foods
- Swelling around the site of your tooth
- Toothaches and discomfort around the teeth and gums
In other cases, especially if the crack is a small one, you may experience few of these symptoms or no symptoms at all.
If you’re concerned about possible damage, or if you’re not sure whether you have cracks or craze lines, it’s important to visit our dentist office in Georgetown for a professional opinion.
Symptoms of a Chipped Tooth
Some patients don’t know they have a chipped tooth until they come in for a regular teeth cleaning, especially if the damage is minor or toward the back of the mouth. However, there are a few symptoms you should watch for:
- A rough or uneven surface on one of your teeth
- Irritation of the gum or tongue from the jagged surface
- Pain when biting or chewing
Again, our expert team can help determine whether your tooth is chipped with a simple oral check-up.
What Are the Options for Fixing a Cracked Tooth?
If your tooth is cracked, your treatment options will depend on the position of the tooth and the placement of the crack itself.
For example, a fractured cusp, which is a crack across the top of the tooth’s chewing surface, often needs a simple filling or crown.
On the other hand, a tooth whose crack extends into the root—called a “split tooth”—may require a root canal and crown. In some cases, it may even require a full extraction, especially when the root and nerves of your teeth show signs of damage. If this is the case, you’ll need Georgetown dental implants as treatment.
What Are the Options for Fixing a Chipped Tooth?
When it comes to a chipped tooth, we’ll often recommend cosmetic procedures that can help address the uneven edge of your tooth while protecting the surface itself. Again, the details will depend on the position of the tooth and the position and severity of the chip.
For minor chips, we can often smooth out the enamel of your tooth with specialized tools. In other cases, we may use dental bonding, which is a tooth-colored resin that can fill in the chip. If you’ve ever had a cavity filled, you’ve had this resin placed into your tooth.
For a serious chip, we often recommend getting a dental crown, which is a protective cap that covers the chewing surface of your tooth. Another option—as long as your teeth are healthy—is porcelain veneers, which cover your existing teeth while mimicking their natural look and texture. Last, but not least, chips that happen due to a tooth infection in the pulp of your tooth will require a root canal.
How Long Will It Take to Repair My Broken Tooth?
The timeline for repairing a chipped or cracked tooth can vary based on the severity of the damage. For minor issues—like a small surface chip—you may be able to get a quick fix in under an hour.
However, if your tooth shows extensive damage, we may need to schedule multiple appointments to address the issue and restore your smile. For example, when getting extractions and dental implants, Georgetown KY patients can expect to need at least ten weeks for healing between the initial surgery and implant placement.
During your consultation, we’ll be clear about the timeline for your specific repair, as well as your scheduling options.
Will My Tooth Heal Completely?
The good news is that all of the procedures above are designed to ensure that your cracked or chipped tooth remains functional for years to come. As long as you seek treatment as soon as possible, the repaired teeth will almost always heal without issue.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that severe tooth cracks may continue to worsen over time, even with treatment. In some cases, this may mean getting a future extraction and dental implant. This is why it’s crucial to come in for regular appointments, ensuring that we can monitor your teeth on an ongoing basis.
Visit Our Dental Office in Georgetown
If you’re worried about cracked or chipped teeth, visit our dental office in Georgetown as soon as possible. As experts in everything from smile makeovers to implant dentistry, we have the necessary experience to diagnose your tooth issues and offer a range of treatment options. We take pride in serving patients throughout the area, and we’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Don’t struggle with these issues alone! Contact our team of Georgetown dentists today to schedule your appointment.