I cracked a tooth over the weekend, and it’s starting to hurt. The crack is difficult to see, so I thought my tooth would fuse back. I’m at CSULB, and I work part-time, so my schedule is tight. The pain isn’t bad, but I am starting to notice it. Is this something that can hold out until next week, or at least will a 24-hour dentist do anything with the tooth if it gets worse in the middle of the night? Daniel from Long Beach
Thank you for your question.
The damage from the trauma to your tooth can affect the tooth root and nerves, causing pain and inflammation, and eventually, the pulp in your tooth will die.
It is essential not to delay seeing a dentist. Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable. A dentist who accepts emergency patients has allotted time each day in their schedule to handle situations like yours. Remember that if your pain progresses, it can cause you to miss school or work entirely.
What Is the Treatment for a Cracked Tooth?
The treatment you receive will depend on the location and extent of the crack. Options may include.
- Biting surface – If your tooth’s cusp or biting surface is cracked, a dentist may use a dental filling, onlay, or a dental crown to protect the tooth. Cusp fractures usually do not affect the tooth’s pulp, and a root canal treatment isn’t needed.
- Extended crack – If the crack extends toward the tooth root but not below the gumline, you will need a root canal treatment. When a crack extends below the gumline, a dentist will likely remove the tooth and recommend tooth replacement, such as a dental implant. This emphasizes why early treatment is needed. The idea of waiting until the pain is so bad that you need a 24-hour dentist is not a good option.
- Split tooth – If a cracked tooth is left untreated, it can split past the biting surface and into the tooth roots. The location of the crack will determine if a dentist can save any portion of the tooth or if it needs to be extracted and replaced with an implant.
We urge you to see a dentist right away.
Dr. James Gavrilos, a Barrington, Illinois, cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.