Apex Oral Surgeon Explains Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Cracked Teeth

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Have you ever had dental pain or discomfort when biting into food or after eating/drinking something that is hot or cold?  This pain or discomfort might not be constant like it is with a cavity, but intermittent.  If so, it is possible you may have a cracked tooth.

There are several reasons that patients develop cracked teeth.  Some situations that can result in fractured teeth are:

  • teeth with large fillings

  • teeth with root canals

  • clenching or grinding teeth

  • chewing ice or other hard foods

  • trauma to the tooth from an accident

  • too much pressure on one tooth as a result of the patient’s occlusion (the way the teeth come together in the mouth)

If the crack in the tooth does not extend further than the enamel, your dentist may not recommend any treatment.   These cracks, known as craze lines, are common in adult teeth.  Think of a teacup with a crack in it but that is still able to hold water without it leaking.

However, if the fracture extends beyond the enamel, it is very important to have the tooth treated. In this situation we have a leaky teacup! It can be difficult for patients to distinguish between the different types of cracks, so it is important to visit your Apex dentist so the fracture can be properly evaluated.  Try to pay attention to exactly where the pain is coming from so that you can tell your dentist.

Molar are more vulnerable to cracks because they absorb most of the impact when chewing food.  Front teeth are more commonly fractured due to trauma.

Your Apex dentist will determine a treatment plan based on the severity of the fracture. Treatment typically includes placing a dental crown on the cracked tooth.  If the fracture effects the pulp chamber a root canal may also be necessary.  If the tooth is split beyond repair, an extraction is likely necessary.  In this situation tooth replacement is possible with implants or bridges.

Postponing treatment can lead to more serious complications such as an infection or a deeper fracture.  That is why it is important not to ignore warning signs or dental pain and sensitivity.  By seeking treatment early, there is a typically better prognosis for the tooth. which also usually results in a lower financial cost of treatment.

Our Apex Dentist Explains The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth

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Everyday we see patients that have missing teeth. Sometimes they are teeth that have been recently extracted.  Other times they have been missing for years.  The reasons for why the teeth are missing vary.  But the answers about why to replace them are usually the same.  So we wanted to share these answers with you!

In the US, about 70% of the population is missing one or more teeth.  Tooth loss can lead to reduced self confidence because of gaps in a person’s smile.  Unfortunately, effects on physical appearance are not the only result.

 

Teeth are lost or missing for several reasons such as trauma, decay, periodontal disease, or even genetics.  It is important to replace missing teeth because when a tooth is missing there is no contact with the opposing arch.  This can cause opposing teeth to gradually extrude which leads to other problem, such as fractures, mobility, tooth loss, shifting in surrounding teeth, and gum problems.

There is more than one option available to patients for replacing missing teeth.  Like most choices, each option has pros and cons.  The 3 most common options are replacing the missing teeth with implants, crowns and bridges or dentures. Sometimes a combination of two of these options can be used, such as a denture that is supported by implants, or a bridge that is supported by implants.  We will cover more about what the pros and cons of each of these treatments are in upcoming blog posts.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, so whenever possible try to avoid loosing the tooth in the first place.  The financial cost of saving a tooth with a crown or even a crown and a root canal is substantially less than the cost of an implant and crown or a bridge.  Not to mention that by saving one tooth, you are also helping keep the surrounding ones healthy as well.

The loss of a tooth is not always preventable, such as in the case of trauma or when a tooth is congenitally missing.  But no matter the cause, it is important to understand the effects of missing teeth so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent further problems. Your Apex dentist can answer questions you have about what treatment best fits your needs and your smile.  And check back here when we explain more about each treatment in the upcoming weeks!

When To Seek Help from an Apex Emergency Dentist

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Though inconvenient, a dental emergency is not something you want to ignore. However, you should know the difference between a true dental emergency and a situation that can wait at least for the night. Dr. Rylan Hansen and his team at Hansen Dentistry in Apex, NC are here to provide expert emergency dental care should you ever be in need of immediate treatment. Contact us at (919) 363-8444 to schedule an appointment.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Often, a tooth will break, chip or crack because you bit something hard, such as ice cubes, an apple or hard candy. Opening chip bags, plastic containers or “easy open” pill bottles with your teeth can sometimes result in the same thing. Some dental emergencies are the result of a traumatic injury or accident. Children can fall on the playground or get hurt at practice or you could be involved in a car accident. If the injury is just a chip or minor fracture, you could decide to wait and seek attention when the dental office opens. However, a severe injury is a different story.

Examples of dental emergencies:

  • Severe crack or fracture
  • A large piece of a tooth is missing
  • A tooth has been knocked out completely
  • A nerve has been exposed

What to do in a Dental Emergency

Here are some things you can do if you (or your child) sustain a tooth injury.

Cracked tooth – See the dentist as soon as possible, especially if there is any pain. Even if the tooth looks “okay” you should still be cautious. If the tooth hurts when you drink something hot or cold come in right away, as it could be a sign of nerve damage within the tooth. Another sign of a crack is if the tooth hurts after you release your bite.

Broken tooth – There is usually no mistaking a broken tooth. If there is a large fracture, chip or part of the tooth is missing see the dentist ASAP as there could be nerve damage.

Before you go to the dentist:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • If there is bleeding, apply pressure with a small piece of gauze.
  • If the bleeding won’t stop, try using a wet tea bag.
  • Put a cold pack or ice on your lips or cheeks over the area of the broken tooth to reduce swelling.
  • If you absolutely can’t get to the dentist right away, cover the tooth with temporary dental cement from a drugstore.

Tooth is knocked out completely – First, try to put the tooth back in the socket. If it will not go back in, clean off the tooth as best you can and store it in a sealed container with milk or your saliva. Apply a cold compress if there is any bleeding.

What to do for Tooth Pain

If you develop sudden – or suddenly increased – tooth pain, see the dentist as soon as you can. It could be a sign of tooth decay or damage to the nerve. You can probably wait until normal hours to go in, although it might feel like an emergency if the pain is severe or it hurts when you try to eat or drink.

Emergency Dental Care at Hansen Dentistry

Tooth pain can interfere with your ability to eat, drink, work, sleep and even think. A cracked, broken or missing tooth constitutes a real emergency that requires care as soon as possible. Dr. Rylan Hansen and his team at Hansen Dentistry in Apex, NC are here to help, with extended hours, same day emergency appointments, and Saturday appointments. Even if you are not in pain from a cracked or lost tooth, it is still important to come in as soon as possible. The first several hours can mean the difference in saving your tooth. If you ever need emergency dental care, contact us at (919) 363-8444 to schedule an appointment.