Accidents can happen, and when they involve your mouth, they sometimes lead to a cracked front tooth. Taking a bite of frozen food, getting bumped by an elbow during a basketball game or tripping on an uneven sidewalk can naturally put your front teeth, or incisors at risk.
If your front tooth has cracked, it’s important to see a dentist, it can be hard to determine it’s location and severity on your own. Some cracks, known as craze lines, are superficial and usually need no treatment. Others, however,extend below the gum line and usually require replacing the tooth.
A dentist can do a few things to restore a cracked front tooth. Bonding for instance, usually involves a composite resin, which is made to resemble the color of your natural tooth, to seal or fill the crack.Compared to other methods of treating a cracked tooth,this one is the least pricey and requires the fewest number of trips to the office. Although the dentist may be able to repair your tooth through bonding in just one visit,however, the material is not as strong as others. It’s weakness makes it better suited for teeth that don’t take a lot of pressure when biting and chewing, such as the front teeth.
If the crack is long or deep, but does not reach the root or below the gum line, a crown might be preferable over bonding. Crowns are usually made of porcelain and act as a cover for the damaged tooth, allowing you to restore or even improve it’s shape. The dentist may recommend placing a crown over the front tooth if there is not enough usable tooth left to bond. You will need to spend a bit more time in the dental chair when receiving a crown to fix a cracked front tooth, and probably return for multiple visits, but because a crown is more durable than bonding, you can expect it to last longer with the right oral hygiene preformed at home.
Some cracks affect not only the outside of the tooth, but the inside as well. If the crack is deep enough to reach the pulp of your tooth, located beneath the enamel and dentin layers, you might need to have a root canal done to treat the inflamed pulp and save the tooth. When a root canal is performed to treat a cracked tooth, the dentist covers the treated tooth with a crown afterward, Although the idea can sound intimidating, the process is similar to that of a filling, and today, it’s relatively comfortable.
A cracked tooth is not treatable once the crack reaches beneath the gum line. This means a dentist will need to remove the tooth,but it does not mean you are left with an empty space in your mouth. An oral surgeon or general dentist can place an implant in your jawbone to replace the root of the tooth.This implant is then covered with a crown so that it looks as much like your original tooth as possible.
No matter how you and your dentist decide to treat a cracked front tooth, it is important to take care of it after treatment as well. Brushing and flossing twice a day, will protect your restored teeth from decay. You will also need to check with your dentist regularly to make sure the bonding, crown or implant remains in good shape.