How Do I Avoid Cracked Teeth?
Cracked tooth

How Do I Avoid Cracked Teeth?

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A cracked tooth needs professional care, but it can often be prevented

3 minute read

If you crack a tooth when biting something hard, playing sport or in another accident, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. Even small cracks may allow bacteria to enter the inner tooth, which could lead to an infection or even tooth loss.

Fortunately, cracked teeth can often be prevented. The first step is understanding the common causes of cracked teeth so you can take steps to avoid them.

Read this guide to learn about cracked tooth causes, prevention and treatments, and book an appointment at our East Vic Park clinic if you need to talk to a dentist.

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What causes teeth to crack?

Tooth enamel is the hardest material in the body, but it can still break when subjected to strong pressure or weakened over a long period of time. Some causes of cracked teeth include:

  • Chewing or biting down on hard foods, such as nuts and hard lollies
  • Biting other hard objects with your teeth, such as ice or packaging
  • Pressure from grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism)
  • Impacts to the mouth from sporting injuries, motor vehicle accidents, falls or fights
  • Tooth wear or erosion by acids weakening the tooth
  • Exposing teeth to sudden temperature changes

How to prevent teeth from cracking

While dentists can treat a cracked tooth and restore it to good working order, most cracks can be prevented by taking precautions. Ways to lower your risks include:

  • Maintaining good oral hygiene
  • Taking care when eating hard or chewy foods
  • Not using your teeth on other objects
  • Wearing a mouthguard when playing sports
  • Seeking treatment for teeth grinding or clenching

Maintain good oral hygiene

Teeth are more likely to crack when they’ve been weakened or worn down by exposure to acids from tooth decay or in food and drink. You can keep your teeth strong and healthy by:

  • Brushing at least twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste for extra protection and a soft bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the enamel
  • Cleaning between your teeth at least once daily using floss or another interdental cleaning tool
  • Eating a balanced diet and cutting down on added sugar that feeds bacteria in plaque
  • Drinking water throughout the day to help rinse and hydrate your mouth
  • Visiting the dentist once or twice a year for a check-up and oral hygiene maintenance

Take care when eating

Healthy teeth are normally strong enough to handle most foods, but particularly hard foods such as fresh nuts, almonds and hard lollies may cause even strong teeth to crack. If your teeth are already worn or weakened, your dentist may advise making other changes to your diet to prevent damage.

Don’t use your teeth on other objects

Teeth are specialised for the purposes of biting, chewing and grinding food. Using them to bite other objects – such as ice cubes in drinks, fingernails or pencils – can cause them to crack. You also shouldn’t use your teeth as tools for opening packaging or bottles, cutting tape, or other activities that can cause damage.

Wear a mouthguard when playing sports

Sporting accidents are one of the most common causes of dental injuries such as cracked, chipped and knocked-out teeth. Many schools and sport clubs now operate a mandatory mouthguard policy to help prevent serious injuries, especially during contact sports.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a custom mouthguard provided by a dentist for a better fit and more protection than a boil-and-bite or over the counter mouthguard.

Teeth grinding treatment

If you grind or clench your teeth at night, or when you feel angry, stressed, or at other times, your dentist can recommend treatments to help you manage this condition and protect your teeth from damage. Depending on the cause, bruxism treatment recommendations may include lifestyle or sleep changes, wearing a bite splint at night, or other dental or orthodontic treatment to correct a misaligned bite.

How do I know if my tooth's cracked?

A cracked tooth isn’t always as obvious as it might sound. If you can’t see a visible crack in the tooth surface, it may be small or hidden from sight. You might also have other symptoms that are a source of discomfort or concern, such as:

  • Toothache or pain when biting or chewing
  • Sensitivity when you eat or drink something hot, cold or sweet
  • Swelling of the gum around a tooth
  • Jaw pain

Alternatively, you may have no symptoms at all. Over time the crack can deepen and bacteria can get in and cause infection and pain, which is why it’s important to keep regular check-ups with your dentist who can check for any signs of a problem before it becomes too painful and costly to manage.

If you’re already experiencing symptoms, you should book an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. If a cracked tooth isn’t treated promptly, the tooth can become infected or develop an abscess. This may be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, fever and bad breath.

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How is a cracked tooth treated?

When you visit the dentist for a check-up or with possible symptoms of a cracked tooth, they will examine your teeth in detail, including taking an x-ray. This enables them to determine whether a crack is present and how severe it is, so they can discuss suitable treatments.

Depending on your situation, cracked tooth treatment might involve:

  • Dental filling – Sealing minor cracks with a tooth-coloured resin filling, inlay or onlay. This can help to protect the tooth for a period of time. If the crack doesn’t worsen, a filling may last a few years before needing to be replaced.
  • Dental crown – Covering a cracked tooth with a porcelain or ceramic cap to restore its structure and strength.
  • Root canal therapy – If a crack reaches the centre of the tooth, a root canal procedure may be needed to remove an infection.
  • Removal – In severe cases, a cracked tooth may be too damaged to repair, so your dentist may recommend having it removed and replaced with a bridge, denture or dental implant. This is the last resort to treating a cracked tooth.

Custom mouthguards and dental crowns in East Vic Park

If you’re worried about a cracked tooth or need to see an emergency dentist in East Vic Park, get in touch with EVP Dental today. Call our friendly team on (08) 9470 3944 for advice and to book an appointmentor make an online booking and we’ll confirm your appointment as soon as we can.

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References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/cracked-tooth