If you crack one of your teeth, then you may start to panic and think that your tooth needs to be pulled. This is rarely the case and your dentist will likely need to use resin composite fillings or porcelain crowns to repair the damage. Generally, you can make a regular dental appointment during normal business hours so your dentist can start working on your tooth. In some cases though, a cracked tooth is an emergency that requires immediate attention. If you notice the following things, then contact your dentist to set up an emergency appointment.
Exposed Pink Tissues
Your teeth are made up of several layers of material. Dental enamel, cementum, and dentin make up the hard white parts of the teeth. All three of these layers are made out of a variety of minerals. Calcium makes up the majority of the tooth material, and the enamel contains the most densely packed mineral material. Tooth enamel is about 2.5 millimeters thick across the crown or cusp, and slimmer layers of dentin and cementum sit underneath the enamel. Underneath the solid layers of the tooth sit the dental pulp. The pulp is made up of soft tissues and capillaries.
Since the hard layers of the teeth only extend about 3 millimeters below the surface, it is possible to crack your tooth deeply to the point that pulp becomes exposed. If you see a pink or red material coming out from underneath the break, then this is the dental pulp. Dental pulp is extremely sensitive and it can become infected quite quickly if it comes into direct contact with the bacteria in your mouth.
What Will Your Dentist Do?
If you make an immediate appointment with your dentist after you see pulp across a broken tooth, the professional will x-ray your mouth. The dentist will look for signs of deeper cracks or openings across the tooth. He or she will also see if the pulp has been damaged. This is likely, especially if the tissues are already exposed. An emergency root canal will need to be completed to reduce infection risks and pain symptoms. Your tooth can most likely be filled immediately, then a temporary crown will be made to cover the open interior of the tooth. A replacement will be made at a laboratory and it will be used to replace the temporary device within a few weeks.
Extremely Painful Tooth
If a small area of your tooth breaks away and you feel pain that seems severe based on the injury, then your tooth may already be damaged. Teeth sometimes become damaged internally when bacteria find a small hole or opening to force their way into the tooth. The microorganisms may also make their way in through the dental root. The bacteria start to eat away at the pulp and sometimes the nerve. This can make the pulp and nerve extremely sensitive to pressure as well as hot or cold foods.
Sometimes, the sensitivity is not noticed until trauma occurs across the crown. The dentin and cementum are then left exposed and the infected tooth pulp and nerve emit stronger signals than usual when the tooth material becomes stressed.
What Will Your Dentist Do?
If your tooth is extremely painful, then your dentist will x-ray your tooth and also complete a sensitivity test. The test may include pressure and heat to determine the severity of the sensations coming from the tooth. A root canal will then be scheduled or completed right away. If the root canal is not completed immediately, then your dentist will probably ask you to take antibiotics to keep abscesses from forming and to keep infections from spreading.
When the root canal is completed, your tooth will need to be drilled and cleaned out. Medication will be required too, because an infection will already be present. Medicines help to kill all bacteria so there will be no future problems when the dental crown is finally secured.
If you crack your tooth, you may not need to see your dentist at a site like http://www.nwidentist.com/ right away. The break may be serious though, especially if you see dental pulp or if the tooth hurts a great deal after the injury.