Sometimes, the cause of tooth pain is obvious. Broken teeth and large fractures, of course, can be seen in the mirror. But what if your tooth looks completely normal? Unfortunately, this doesn't rule out the possibility that you have a fractured tooth. Hairline fractures can be so fine that even dentists have difficulty distinguishing them on x-rays.
Hairline Fracture Symptoms
Many of the symptoms of a fractured tooth are similar to other dental problems: pain and sensitivity centered around a specific tooth. The pain of cavities, however, is generally constant, although it can get worse with pressure and during eating. A fractured tooth, on the other hand, will be very sensitive to pressure. It may only hurt a little, if at all, until you bite your teeth together; then the pain is sudden and sharp. If your tooth feels loose in your gum, that's another strong sign that it could be fractured.
Fractured Teeth Aren't Like Bones
Some people assume if a fracture is so minor that they can't see it that they can let it heal on its own. But there's a big difference between a fractured bone and a fractured tooth. Fractured bones, of course, can be set and will heal over time. Teeth, however, don't heal at all; once a tooth is fractured, it can only get worse. That's why it's very important to have fractured teeth treated as soon as you can.
Treatment One: Bonding
If a fracture is very small and caught early, it may be possible to simply cover over it with dental resin. This is called bonding; the solid surface of the cured resin will act like a patch on your fractured tooth. However, this is only an option for very minor fractures, as bonding won't hold up to the pressure a large fracture can cause.
Treatment Two: Crown
If a crack has compromised the structure of your tooth, a crown may be able to hold the tooth together. This involves shaving down the top of your tooth and then installing the crown, often made of gold or porcelain, over the top of it. This crown is shaped to mimic your original tooth, and it adds strength and structure to a fractured tooth.
Treatment Three: Root Canal
If your fracture has progressed through your enamel and dentin and down to the pulp, then it's likely that you will need a root canal. Contrary to popular belief, root canals aren't a painful procedure; as with much dental work, you will receive a local anesthetic. It's crucial that you don't let anxiety about getting a root canal keep you from having a dental fracture treated; if it progresses beyond the point of a root canal, you will lose your tooth completely.
Get in touch with a dental office like Hurst Family Dental for more details.