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What Happens When a Cracked Tooth Goes Untreated?
A cracked tooth that goes untreated for an extended amount of time can lead to severe complications. Continue reading to learn about the risks of leaving cracked teeth untreated. Dentists generally recommend having a cracked tooth repaired as soon as conveniently possible, and it may become an emergency situation if the symptoms worsen or lead to other complications.
The risks of not treating a cracked tooth
The biggest risks of leaving a cracked tooth untreated are that severe pain and sensitivity can develop, gum swelling and tenderness can occur, and the likelihood of oral infection is much higher. Additionally, the risk of losing the tooth is greater as well, and the treatment plan is generally more invasive the longer the patient waits.
Severe pain and sensitivity
Tooth pain and sensitivity are the two most common symptoms of a cracked tooth. For a minor chip, the discomfort is usually minor and tolerable. However, the longer a cracked tooth remains untreated the worse the pain and sensitivity become. This can make it difficult to function throughout the day and get a good night of rest.
Gum swelling and tenderness
Gum complications such as swelling and tenderness are often associated with a cracked tooth because bacteria can accumulate around the tooth, which damages the gum as well as the tooth itself. Gum swelling and tenderness should also be considered signs of an oral infection when they result after a tooth is cracked.
The development of an oral infection
As mentioned, a cracked tooth exposes the underlying layers of teeth where the nerves and blood vessels are. Bacteria can become trapped in these open areas, causing a tooth infection to develop. The infection leads to increased discomfort and has the potential to spread and affect other areas of the mouth and body.
The loss of the tooth
The ultimate result for many who leave a cracked tooth untreated is the loss of the tooth. Specifically, a cracked tooth is lost when the root of the tooth is no longer strong enough to support it. In other cases, the tooth becomes damaged beyond what can be repaired and extraction and tooth replacement are required.
More invasive and costly treatment
If a cracked tooth worsens or the root of the tooth becomes infected, then it can require a root canal procedure (or a root-end procedure) to try and save the tooth and treat any dental abscess that develops. This is much more invasive than the treatment that is necessary for a minor cracked tooth (the placement of a dental crown). If the tooth is lost or needs extraction, then the patient will need a replacement tooth, which can also increase the invasiveness and cost of the process.
What signs indicate a need for cracked tooth treatment?
You should visit a dentist anytime there is one or more cracked teeth, regardless of the level of severity of the present symptoms. However, certain symptoms indicate a more urgent matter. Specifically, the risks of a cracked tooth are greater if any of these symptoms are present:
- Gum swelling
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose tooth
It is also important to assess the cause of the cracked tooth as well. Getting struck by a ball during a sporting event could indicate a more immediate concern than a minor crack that develops due to poor oral hygiene. When in doubt, it is best to call a dental professional for guidance.
What to expect during cracked tooth treatment from a dentist
During your first visit for cracked tooth treatment, the dental staff may take dental x-rays and perform an oral examination to determine the extent of the damage. From there, they can recommend a treatment plan. The most common types of treatments for a cracked tooth include:
- Dental crown
- Dental veneer
- Dental bonding
- Root canal procedure
- Tooth replacement (e.g., dental implant)
If an infection develops, then antibiotics and/or a root canal procedure may be necessary. It may take more than one visit to complete the treatment process. Although, dentists are typically able to alleviate the symptoms of the cracked tooth on the first visit.
Contact our dental office today for cracked tooth treatment
The good news is our dental office knows how to promptly and effectively treat cracked teeth, and we do all we can to save cracked teeth from becoming lost. For answers to your initial questions and to schedule a visit, give our friendly dental team a call today.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Cracked Tooth in San Antonio, TX.
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