Not every cracked tooth warrants a trip to the emergency dentist. If signs and symptoms are addressed early on, a trip to the weekend dentist can be avoided. However, many cracked teeth don’t produce any of the symptoms on the list below. For this reason, it’s common that an emergency dentist to repair cracked teeth is necessary when the symptoms begin to appear.
It can be tricky, even for the most experienced emergency dentist to identify cracked teeth. Self-diagnosing that a cracked tooth doesn’t need emergency repair could cause further damage to the tooth, , pulp, nerve and gums. Emergency dentists that repair cracked teeth will often do several different diagnostic tests to determine the location and severity of the crack before deciding what method they will use to repair the damaged teeth.
Do only emergency dentists repair cracked teeth?
Emergency dentists aren’t the only dentists that repair cracked teeth. Family dentists sometimes offer emergency dental services to patients after normal business hours. Among the services typically offered by a weekend dentist, is repairing cracked teeth. Since cracked teeth are one of the most common reasons for the loss of a tooth in more modernized parts of the world, some dentists have chosen to be more proactive with treating cracked teeth. Typically those family dentist offices are more equipped for repairing cracked teeth.
Even though those offices have dentists and the tools to repair cracked teeth, it may not be advised to wait until they are available to fix the dental problem. Some damaged teeth need more immediate attention, the kind an emergency dentist can handle. When an emergency dentist repairs cracked teeth, it provides relief from symptoms and a long term solution. Often dentists can’t provide the full long term solution in their office so they offer a more short term option that needs to be fixed again by a specialty dentist. Ideally, someone with a cracked tooth would be able to find a weekend dentist that has the equipment needed for an emergency repair.
Signs a cracked tooth needs an emergency dentist
Cracked teeth don’t always show symptoms right away. Covert as the symptoms may be initially, they often turn into debilitating pain. Catching the signs and symptoms early can help prevent a trip to the emergency dentist. Signs that a cracked tooth needs an emergency dentist are more than just severe pain, there are more commonly ignored signs that may indicate a tooth has been cracked.
Pain when chewing or clenching
Even though this is not exclusively a symptom of cracked teeth, pain when chewing is a big sign that there could be a problem with the inside of the mouth. When the pain is associated with a cracked tooth, it’s often more intense when releasing the clench after biting down. Pain that prevents chewing on or near the impacted area likely indicates a trip to the emergency dentist is needed.
Pain that comes and goes
This symptom is commonly overlooked by patients. It’s assumed that if the pain doesn’t persist it must have been something small, circumstantial or has already resolved itself. With cracked teeth, the pain comes and goes. If pain in a tooth or area of the mouth happens but not constantly, it could be a sign to seek out an emergency dentist.
Swelling of the gums
Typically swelling of the gums associated with a cracked tooth is more localized swelling. If the gums around a specific tooth start to swell and feel irritated, it could mean a tooth has been damaged. If left untreated, this symptom could lead to serious infections and tooth loss. It’s a good idea to see an emergency dentist in the event of any gum swelling.
Tooth sensitivity sometimes indicates a dental emergency. Sensitivity to temperate, whether hot or cold, is a good sign something is wrong with a tooth. In addition to temperature, sensitivity to sweet tastes and sugary foods or drinks can also be a sign of a cracked tooth. If the sensitivity prevents chewing with a specific part of the mouth, it may be time to see an emergency dentist.
What to expect when seeing an emergency dentist to repair cracked teeth
An evaluation from an emergency dentist for cracked teeth will likely include several different types of tests. Since normal diagnostic testing like x-rays are unlikely to reveal a cracked tooth, other measures must be taken to accurately determine the type and severity of the crack in the tooth. It is wise to expect that an emergency dentist will conduct x-rays and other hands on testing. They may feel around with a dental explorer to attempt to find a crack. They may also ask the patient to bite down, testing pressure and pain level. It is also common for the dentist to check the gums for swelling and inflammation. One or all of these tests may be needed to accurately diagnose a cracked tooth. Accurate diagnosis of the problem and the type of damage is needed before the emergency dentist can repair the cracked teeth.
How do emergency dentists repair cracked teeth?
Emergency dentists repair cracked teeth using a variety of methods. Most common are the least invasive options, like bonding. Some cracks may require a more invasive procedure. In the most severely damaged teeth, extraction may be the best option.
Repairing cracked teeth with a crown
This repair is more invasive than bonding. An emergency dentist will typically fit a crown and then place is after it’s made. This process involves removing some enamel and making an imprint of the tooth to have turned into a crown. Once the crown is made, it will slip over the cracked tooth like a cap.
Bonding cracked teeth
Less invasive but still effective, bonding is another way an emergency dentist repairs cracked teeth. Bonding refers to filling the crack in the tooth with a resin.
If the crack is in the pulp of the tooth, a root canal will likely be offered by the emergency dentist. This is a more invasive procedure that involves cleaning out the pulp and filling the root permanently. This process also involves having a crown placed to protect the tooth after the root is filled.
Extraction of tooth
Removal of the tooth may be recommended by an emergency dentist if the tooth’s integrity is too compromised. Some dentists may also be able to assist patients with replacing the tooth with a dental implant.
Any sign or symptom of a dental emergency can be serious. If there is any question about whether or not what someone is experiencing is a dental emergency, it’s advised to seek out an emergency dentist. After evaluation, a referral to the appropriate professional is better than a permanently damaged tooth.