Tooth fractures make reference to tooth injuries involving damage to the enamel, dentin and cement. These injuries occur either on the enamel-covered top portion of the tooth (the crown) or the part below the gum line (the root).
When individuals think of tooth fractures, they tend to automatically think that part of the tooth will break off or perhaps be so painful that the diagnosis is obvious. As with other bones in your body, minor fractures may occur that escape your attention. In fact, if the tooth appears fairly sound, or the fracture is not very deep, even you dentist may miss it. Case one reason why trans-illuminating light examinations locate any fractures which may be too small to detect by other means.
Whenever a tooth chips or breaks, it might not hurt. However, your tongue usually feels the sharp area quite quickly. Minor tooth fractures usually don’t hurt, but if a large piece of the tooth breaks off, it can hurt. Like the nerve inside the tooth may be damaged. If it’s exposed to air, or hot or cold foods or drinks, it may be extremely uncomfortable.
You know if your tooth breaks severely enough to reveal the sensitive inner material and nerve, it will hurt! The pain however, may come and go, it can be extremely sensitive to hot and cold drinks, or just being subjected to the air. The pain increases when you chew and put pressure on the tooth. You can also feel the sharp fringe of the broken tooth with your tongue. If you experience any of these unfortunate events, please make an emergency appointment with your dentist to start the correction and repair process.
Many tooth fractures, however, don’t hurt and this is where the problem comes in. Tiny hairline fractures that don’t enter the sensitive part of the teeth often go undetected. Over time, these fractures can form areas for bacteria to collect and begin the all-too-familiar process of producing acids contributing to tooth decay. Since any fracture is capable of doing going deeper, the existence of undetected fractures sets you up for any broken tooth waiting to occur. If the situation progresses to ‘more cavity than tooth’, the whole outer structure could fail. So often, these things happen at the worst possible time too. Like the start of a long holiday weekend, or the first night of your honeymoon, well, we surely hope not!
The important thing then, is to find and correct these little cracks before they become big ones. This really is easier said than done. X-rays cannot be used to detect unseen fractures like those who work in bones, so often they are missed. Fortunately there’s a new non-invasive approach called transillumination. This long word literally means ‘shining the sunshine through’, and it is something that should be done with every examination these days.
Tooth fractures may be treatable several ways, depending upon the injury: extraction, root canal,
If you feel your pet may have a fractured tooth, have your veterinarian perform an oral exam. If you have any further questions regarding tooth fractures or oral health, consult your local veterinarian.
X-rays is going to be needed to determine the damage towards the root(s) of the tooth. When the tooth root is involved with much of the fracture, the tooth will need to be surgically extracted.
Although fractures are very common, you should never delay going to the dentist. Fractures can become more and more serious if you don’t do something about them, which is why you should never hesitate to visit the dentist. Your dentist should be able to detect the condition, and do the repair before it has the opportunity to get any worse.