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A cracked molar is a common type of tooth fracture, and it is usually unexpected. It often comes with some pain and discomfort.
The different types of tooth fractures include:
A cracked molar can be small and harmless. However, there is a possibility of it growing and causing more serious tooth problems.
The most common symptom of a cracked molar is pain when chewing or biting, especially when you release the bite. Other symptoms include:
Some people are more at risk for cracked teeth. These risk factors include:
Cracked molars can also develop from craze lines and fractured cusps, two minor types of tooth fractures.
A cracked molar can be a minor problem, but there is a risk of it developing into a more severe tooth fracture. Small cracks only require a small dental filling.
If your cracked molar turns into a larger fracture that extends below the gum line, you might need a root canal and dental crown. If the tooth cannot be restored, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction.
A fixed prosthesis, such as a dental bridge or implant, will then replace the missing tooth. Another option is to have the tooth replaced with a removable prosthesis, such as a partial denture.
Without proper treatment, a cracked molar can lead to tooth loss. This type of dental emergency can be time-sensitive depending on the severity of the fracture.
A small fracture may not need significant treatment initially, but it can lead to extensive and costly dental care if left untreated. A larger cracked molar can lead to pain, infection, and tooth extraction.
If you think you have a cracked molar, you should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible. This is to ensure there are no significant problems and your tooth can be quickly repaired.
Your dentist will clinically examine your tooth and take a dental x-ray to ensure your tooth can be restored.
General dentistry offers an array of professional treatment options for cracked molars, which include:
Other treatment plans may be available depending on the cause of the cracked molar. If you are teeth-grinding while sleeping (bruxism), you may benefit from a custom nightguard to prevent stress on your teeth.
If you have extensive dental work or orthodontics, they can cause pressure on specific areas of your molars. A simple adjustment of your occlusion can prevent these molars from being susceptible to fracturing.
If you cannot see your dentist immediately, avoid hard and crunchy foods. Rinse your mouth with a warm water and salt mixture to reduce plaque, bacteria, and balance the pH of your mouth.
You can take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief. There are also over-the-counter temporary dental filling materials to help seal your tooth from bacteria until you get an appointment with your dentist.
Dentists recommend making a dental appointment as soon as possible if you have a cracked tooth. The longer you wait, the greater risk of further damage and expensive treatment.
Some dentists will treat your tooth at an emergency dental visit. If your tooth needs more extensive treatment, your dentist may schedule multiple visits. They may also prescribe pain medication and antibiotics.
Tooth pain depends on the degree of the tooth fracture. If you have a small chip or crack, there is a chance you won’t experience any discomfort. If you have a more extensive fracture, there is a good chance it can cause a toothache.
The enamel and dentin layers protect the tooth’s pulp and nerve. If those parts of the tooth go missing, it can cause increased sensitivity to hot, cold, spicy, or sweet foods.
Some people will have no visible signs of pain because the tooth is necrotic or dead. This indicates the tooth may need root canal therapy to be saved and avoid potential pain and infection.
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