A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. Dental fillings are most commonly used to treat cavities. They’re also used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that have been worn down over time.
Most dental filling procedures have the following attributes in common:
• Decay removal from the affected teeth
• Tooth restoration using a composite or amalgam (silver) filling
• Topical anesthetic to numb the area of treatment
• A bite check to make sure your teeth align correctly
The staff at Somerset Dental Associates will ensure you are comfortable before, during, and after your procedure. Any of our staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
A tooth may crack due to a variety of factors including:
• Chewing on hard objects or foods such as ice, different types of nuts, or hard candy
• Being in an accident, such as a blow to the mouth
• Clenching or grinding your teeth
• Uneven chewing pressure
• Stress to or on a tooth
• Loss of a marked portion of your tooth structure through wear, overly large fillings or other prior restorations
• Exposure of tooth enamel to changes in temperature
• Brittleness of teeth that may have gone through endodontic treatment
There are many different types of cracked teeth. A tooth that is cracked can be painful. This may also lead to disease of the tooth.
Look for the following signs to know when a tooth is cracked:
• Pain when eating or drinking
• Sharp pain when biting down that quickly disappears
• Pain that comes and goes
• Feeling that something is stuck in or between your teeth
• Maybe you may not have any signs at all.
How can you tell if a tooth is cracked?
It can be hard to tell if a tooth is cracked. A cracked tooth may show a variety of symptoms, including erratic pain when chewing, possibly with a release of biting pressure, or pain when your tooth is exposed to temperature extremes.
If one experiences pain, you may not be able to tell which tooth hurts or whether the pain is from an upper or a lower tooth. The things that can cause you tooth pain would include exposure to heat, cold or foods that are sweet, sour, or sticky. It will probably be difficult to discern where the area of the pain may be coming from.
Why Does a Cracked Tooth Hurt?
In some cases, a crack in the enamel travels through to the nerve pulp. This type of cracked tooth may hurt when you try biting down or when you stop biting. The crack may be too small to see, but when it does open, the pulp inside the tooth may become irritated. The pulp is soft tissue inside the center of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels. The tooth may then become sensitive to extreme heat or cold if the crack extends into the pulp.
The pulp can also be affected as a direct result of the crack. If this happens, endodontic (root canal) treatment may be needed to save the tooth.
How Can a Cracked Tooth Be Treated?
Treatment by the dentist depends upon the size, location and direction of the crack, as well as your symptoms. Your dentist will talk to you about the treatment that is best for your tooth. It is possible that your dentist will recommend no treatment at all, since tiny cracks are common and usually do not cause any problems.
Types of treatment may include the following:
• Repairing the tooth with a filling material
• Placing a crown or cap on the tooth to protect it from further damage
• Endodontic (root canal) treatment if the pulp is included
• Extracting the tooth if the crack is too severe
Regular dental checkups are important because they permit your dentist to diagnose and treat problems at an early stage. A cracked tooth can become a bigger problem if it is left untreated. If you think you might have a cracked tooth, visit your dentist as soon as possible.