Crack A Tooth? Here's What To Do
Feeling a tooth crack when you bite down on something hard can send shivers down your spine. Not only is the sensation of a tooth cracking strange, but you're instantly hit with worries of what to do, how the crack will be treated, and whether you'll even get to keep the tooth. Don't just ignore your tooth crack. It won't go away on its own, and waiting will only make matters worse as decay may set in. Here's what to do after you crack a tooth.
Make yourself comfortable.
The first thing you should do is address any pain you're suffering from. If you have stabbing pain from the tooth itself, try rinsing it with some salt water. This can draw out some of the inflammation and soothe the area. If you have more of a throbbing jaw pain, take a dose of ibuprofen or naproxen. Then, hold a cold compress against the outside of your jaw.
Inspect the damage.
Once you're a bit more comfortable, look in the mirror or have a friend look in your mouth to assess the damage. If you can possibly take a picture of the cracked tooth, that's helpful, too. You can send it to your dentist if needed. Note which tooth is cracked, how deep the crack is, and what surfaces of the tooth (chewing surface, tongue surface, or cheek surface) are cracked. Your dentist will want this information to decide how to best treat you.
Once you've inspected your tooth, you can press some sugar-free gum or wax made for braces over it. This will minimize saliva contact with the crack, keeping you more comfortable.
Call your dentist.
This is not usually a dental emergency unless you're in terrible, searing pain. If that's the case, call an emergency dentist if it's after-hours. Otherwise, wait until your dentist opens and call them first thing.
Depending on the location and extent of your crack, your dentist may want to treat you immediately or may want to wait a few days. Minor cracks can sometimes be filled with composite like a cavity would be filled, but, most of the time, your best bet is going to be having the tooth covered in a cap. This will keep the crack from becoming any deeper or chipping away. In the case of a very deep crack, you may need to have a root canal performed to prevent the root from becoming infected. For more advice on what to do if you crack a tooth, talk to a dentist like David Jackson, DDS.