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Westgate Dental

The Dangers of a Cracked Tooth

Sep 01, 2023
A cracked tooth might not appear to be a big problem, but unfortunately, it can lead to many dental issues if you ignore it. Take a moment to learn what can happen if you don’t have a dental professional repair your cracked tooth.

If you have a cracked tooth, it might seem like a minor dental concern at first glance, but don't be fooled by its subtle appearance. Beneath the surface lies a silent threat that can lead to a cascade of dental complications if left untreated. 

Here at Westgate Dental in West Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Ryan Langel and Dr. Jeremy Flinkman understand what can happen when a cracked tooth doesn’t get the professional dental attention it needs. 

Here are seven ways a cracked tooth can affect you if you ignore it:

Pain and sensitivity

Initially, a cracked tooth might not cause much discomfort, but as time goes on, the crack can widen and expose the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, including the nerves. This can lead to sharp, shooting pain, especially when chewing or biting down on food. 

Sensitivity to temperature changes, particularly cold or hot items, can also become a painful ordeal, affecting your ability to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages.

Infection risk

A cracked tooth provides an entry point for bacteria to infiltrate the inner structures of the tooth. The pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels, can become infected. 

This can result in a painful abscess, a pus-filled pocket that forms at the root of the tooth. Left untreated, an abscess can lead to severe pain and swelling, and can even spread to other parts of your body.

Fracture progression

What might start as a minor crack can quickly escalate if not addressed promptly. The force put on the tooth while chewing can cause the crack to worsen, potentially splitting the tooth into multiple pieces. 

A fractured tooth is more challenging to treat and might require more extensive dental procedures, such as a root canal or extraction.

Bite misalignment

A cracked tooth can compromise the structural integrity of your bite. As you avoid putting pressure on the cracked tooth while eating, you may unintentionally shift your bite, placing stress on your other teeth. 

This can lead to uneven wear on your teeth, cause jaw discomfort, and even promote temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.

Aesthetic concerns

Cracked teeth can negatively affect the appearance of your smile, diminishing your self-confidence. Visible cracks can tarnish an otherwise perfect smile, affecting your interactions with people and self-esteem.

Difficulty in treatment

The longer a cracked tooth remains untreated, the more challenging and costly its treatment becomes. 

We can often repair a small crack with a simple filling or bonding procedure, but as the crack progresses, more extensive interventions like root canals, crowns, or even extractions may be necessary.

Preventive measures

Preventing a cracked tooth is preferable to dealing with the aftermath. Don’t bite down on hard objects like ice, pens, or hard candies. Use protective gear during sports that could involve impact to your face, and wear a mouthguard at night if you clench or grind your teeth.

If you have a cracked tooth, don’t ignore it. Ignoring the warning signs or delaying treatment can lead to dire consequences that extend beyond just your teeth. 

Keep your regular dental checkups so we can address any signs of discomfort promptly to prevent the progression of your dental issue. A proactive approach is your best defense against the silent threat of a cracked tooth.

If you think you might have a cracked tooth, reach out to us today at our West Des Moines, Iowa, office by phone or online.