Although our teeth are strong, they’re not invincible. They’re susceptible to cracks and chips,
especially from injuries or from biting down on something hard. Even oral piercings such as
tongue rings and conditions such as teeth grinding can cause chips and cracks in the teeth.
You should never wait to fix your chipped or cracked tooth, even if you aren’t experiencing any
pain. Here’s why you should make an appointment to get your injured tooth looked at!
Evaluate Tooth for Further Damage
When your tooth has been chipped or cracked, the best course of action is to have it evaluated
by a professional dentist for damage you can’t see. The crack may run deeper than you think
and can even compromise tooth structure, making your tooth more susceptible to future chips
This evaluation also serves to protect your affected tooth from further harm. When you get
your injured tooth treated promptly, you reduce the chances that something else will happen
to your tooth that could cause infection, discoloration, or the need for additional treatment.
The Damage May Affect Your Tooth’s Nerve
The nerves of our teeth rest in the center of the tooth protected by a layer of dentin and a layer
of enamel to keep bacteria out. If your crack or chip is large enough to affect the nerve tissue of your tooth, there is a higher risk for infection as you’re exposing the center of your tooth to bacteria and food particles.
If the crack or chip is deep, the nerve inside your tooth can become infected and die, causing
your tooth to become discolored and eventually leading to the need for a root canal. You
should never wait to seek treatment for a chipped or cracked tooth
When Should You Seek Treatment?
For some people, a cracked or chipped tooth is not painful and so they forgo treatment. By the
time their affected tooth does start to hurt, typically an infection has set in and the tooth may
not be able to be saved.
Although a cracked or chipped tooth isn’t considered a dental emergency, you shouldn’t wait
more than a day or two to seek treatment. It’s always a good idea to contact your dentist to
describe the problem and make an appointment for an evaluation as soon as it happens.
However, if your tooth has cracked to the point that it is jagged, causing extreme pain, or
bleeding, you should see the dentist sooner. In the meantime, salt water rinses and over-the-
counter pain medication may help your discomfort. Always treat an injured tooth with care
until you can get to the dentist.
Treatment options include dental bonding, which is simple and painless, or if your damage is
extensive, a dental crown.
Don’t let your cracked or chipped tooth go to the point that you need root canal therapy to
save your tooth. Evaluation and treatment today can prevent future dental problems and might
just save your smile! If you’ve cracked or chipped a tooth, don’t delay in reaching out to your
dentist for an appointment!