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Cracked Tooth Treatment: Options, Costs, and Recovery

Close up of woman has a toothache touches her teeth and frowns from painful discomfort stands over

A cracked tooth can arise from various factors, including biting down on hard substances, facial trauma, or the natural ageing process. This dental issue can not only cause pain and discomfort but also potentially lead to more serious oral health complications if left untreated. Hence, understanding the signs of a cracked tooth and seeking timely, professional treatment is crucial. 

This section discusses the effectiveness of different treatment options, their associated costs, and what one can expect during the recovery process. It emphasizes the significance of addressing the condition promptly to ensure oral health and well-being.

What is a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth has experienced a fracture running from the chewing surface down to the root. The severity of a crack can vary significantly, from minor superficial cracks that affect only the outer enamel to deep splits that reach the tooth’s nerve and can cause significant pain. Symptoms often include sporadic pain when chewing, heightened sensitivity to temperature, and discomfort when the tooth is exposed to sweet or sour foods. 

Not all cracked teeth will show visible signs of damage, making it all the more important to pay attention to discomfort and seek professional advice if you suspect a crack. This condition doesn’t just affect your oral health; left unaddressed, it can impact your overall quality of life.

Types of Cracked Tooth

Cracked teeth can manifest in various ways, each differing in severity and treatment approach. Here’s an overview of the most common types:

  • Craze Lines: Superficial cracks in the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, are mainly a cosmetic concern and do not require extensive treatment.
  • Fractured Cusp: This crack near a dental filling may not reach the tooth’s core and is often painless. Treatment can be a new filling or crown to safeguard the tooth.
  • Cracked Tooth: A crack from the chewing surface towards the root. Early diagnosis is crucial; a crown can help if the pulp is untouched, or a root canal may be needed.
  • Split Tooth: A cracked tooth progresses and is divided into segments. It is challenging to treat and often leads to extraction.
  • Vertical Root Fracture: Cracks from the root upwards are often asymptomatic unless infection occurs. Depending on the severity and location, treatment involves surgery or extraction.

Causes of Cracked Tooth

The young woman with colorful lollipop

Understanding the culprits behind a cracked tooth can go a long way in preventing such dental dilemmas. Several factors can contribute to tooth cracking, ranging from everyday habits to unexpected incidents. Here’s an insightful look at the common causes of tooth cracks:

  • Chewing on Hard Foods: Biting hard substances like ice, hard candies, or nuts can stress teeth and cause cracks. Be cautious and avoid using teeth to crack nuts or open packages.
  • Accidents and Trauma: Facial trauma from sports injuries or falls can harm teeth. Use mouthguards during sports and watch for hazards to reduce risks.
  • Ageing: Teeth wear down over time like the rest of the body. Those over 50 are more prone to cracked teeth, so regular dental check-ups are crucial for early issue detection.
  • Abrupt Temperature Changes in the Mouth: Consuming hot and cold foods can damage teeth, leading to cracks. Allow your mouth to adjust between extreme temperatures.
  • Grinding and Clenching: Teeth grinding or clenching, especially during sleep, can strain teeth, increasing the risk of cracks. Nightguards are recommended to protect against bruxism.
  • Large Fillings: While large fillings are necessary for decayed teeth, they can weaken tooth structure and cause cracking. Regular dental check-ups can catch breakdowns around fillings early.

Most Common Signs of a Cracked Tooth

  • Sharp pain when chewing: This is the most common symptom without any visible reason, and a crack in the tooth causes it.
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweetness: Cracked teeth will cause pain with biting pressure and pain during chewing, as well as sensitivity to cold, heat or sweetness.
  • Gum swelling: Gum swelling is another common symptom of cracked teeth and may occur at or around the fracture. Swelling may be tender to the touch, and heat and redness around the gum area are also possible.

5 Treatment Options for Cracked Teeth

Depending on the type of crack, your dentist may do the following treatment to treat the teeth crack.

1. Dental Implant

If the cracked tooth is so severe that extraction is the only option available, Casa Dental offers you the option to replace the extracted tooth using a dental implant. We only encourage you to leave the gap after replacing it, as it may cause the other teeth to move and cause other problems to appear. Besides helping to fill up the gap between teeth, dental implants also help to prevent the gum line and the jaw bone from receding.

Treatment Length: Usually, the implant will be completed in around 3 months

2. Root Canal Therapy

If the crack exposes the internal pulp, simple treatment will not be enough to relieve pain. In this case, you may need root canal therapy. This procedure cleans and disinfects the pulp inside the tooth before replacing it with a special material.

Treatment Length: 1-2 appointments required, interval time around 1 week between each appointment

3. Crowns

If the crack caused part of the tooth to chip beyond repair but not to the extent that the pulp of the untreated cracked tooth is exposed, a crown may be an option. A crown is a large cap that covers the entire affected tooth and is shaped and coloured like your own tooth. It is a procedure whereby the pulp inside the tooth is cleaned and disinfected before being replaced with a special material.

Treatment Length: 2 appointments required; interval time is around 2-3 weeks

4. Inlays/Onlays

Some cracks may cause teeth to lose a significant amount of their structure. Inlays and onlays are permanent restorations used to rebuild teeth. Unlike dental fillings, which can be done directly on the tooth, inlays and onlays must be fabricated in the dental lab before cement.

Treatment Length: 2 appointments required; interval time is around 2-3 weeks

5. Veneers

Some cracks are superficial and not to the extent they damage the nerve; veneers are another option. Veneers are thin shells that protect the front part of the tooth to protect it from further damage.

Treatment Length: 2 appointments required; interval time is around 2-3 weeks

Costs Associated with Cracked Tooth Treatment

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The cost of treating a cracked tooth is influenced by similar variables to those mentioned previously, including the type of treatment, the clinic’s location within the city, and the patient’s dental insurance coverage. Dental services in Singapore are renowned for their high standards, but this also means the costs can vary significantly based on these factors.

  • Treatment Type: The complexity and nature of the treatment needed for a cracked tooth drastically affect the overall cost. Advanced treatments like dental implants and root canal therapy require specialized skills and materials and, hence, are priced higher compared to more straightforward procedures like bonding.
  • Location: Dental clinics in prime areas of Singapore, such as the Central Business District or Orchard Road, might charge more due to higher operational costs than those in residential neighbourhoods.
  • Dental Insurance: In Singapore, patients with dental insurance may find their out-of-pocket expenses significantly reduced. However, the extent of coverage depends on the specifics of the insurance plan, including any existing caps on dental expenses or exceptions for certain types of treatments.

For a better understanding of the costs involved, here are the estimated ranges for common treatments for a cracked tooth in Singapore:

  • Bonding: This procedure can cost between $300 to $500 per bonding, depending on the extent of the crack and the material used.
  • Crowns: Crowns are more expensive, ranging from $800 to $2,000 per tooth. The cost can vary based on the crown’s material, with porcelain crowns being on the higher end of the spectrum.
  • Root Canal Therapy: Patients can expect to pay between $350 and $900 for root canal treatment, depending on the tooth’s complexity and the need for additional procedures like post and core build-up.
  • Extraction: If the tooth is beyond repair, tooth extraction costs can range from $150 to $1250, depending on whether the patient will undergo a minor procedure or one that requires surgery. Note that this does not include the cost of tooth replacement options like implants or bridges, which would incur additional charges.

Recovery and Aftercare Following Cracked Tooth Treatment

Recovering from cracked tooth treatment varies depending on the type of procedure performed. Generally, most patients can return to normal activities the day after the treatment, although some treatments, like extractions or dental implants, may require a longer recovery period. Following your dentist’s aftercare instructions is crucial to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery. 

Immediate Post-Treatment Care

For the first 24-48 hours after dental treatments, certain precautions and steps can immensely help the healing process and minimise discomfort.

  • For Dental Implants, Tooth Extraction, and Root Canal Therapy: It’s advised to avoid any strenuous activity to prevent any bleeding or swelling. Apply an ice pack externally on the face near the affected area to reduce swelling. Stick to soft or liquid foods that do not require much chewing and avoid hot beverages and foods that could aggravate the area.
  • After Crown, Inlays/Onlays, and Veneers Procedures: Avoid chewing directly on the newly treated teeth until the final restoration is completed, as this could dislodge temporary restorations or cause sensitivity. Sensitivity to hot and cold foods is normal; however, it should subside within a few weeks after the final treatment.

Long-Term Dental Health Practices

Ensuring the long-term success of your dental treatments and preventing future issues significantly hinges on adopting good oral hygiene practices and prioritising regular dental check-ups. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using mouthwash can drastically reduce the risk of future dental problems by removing plaque, preventing tooth decay, and keeping gum disease at bay. It’s also vital to avoid habits such as smoking or excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks, which can compromise your oral health.

Regular dental check-ups, at intervals recommended by your dentist, allow for the early detection of potential issues before they escalate into serious problems. These visits are essential for professional cleaning and assessing the health and integrity of any previous dental work. 

During these appointments, dentists can identify minor issues and address them promptly, ensuring that your restorations last as long as possible. Additionally, professional cleanings can remove tartar that can’t be tackled with at-home brushing and flossing, further protecting oral health.

Signs of Potential Complications

While the recovery process for most dental procedures is often smooth and uncomplicated, it’s important to stay alert for signs that may indicate a need to revisit your dentist. Persistent pain, for instance, should not be a common occurrence post-treatment and could signify an underlying problem needing immediate attention. If the discomfort lasts longer than a few days and is not relieved by prescribed pain medication, it’s advisable to contact your dentist. 

Another red flag to watch out for is signs of infection, including swelling that doesn’t subside, unusual discharge, or an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Additionally, if you experience heightened sensitivity or pain when biting down most cracked teeth, this could indicate that the restoration needs adjusting. It’s also crucial to promptly report any chips or cracks in dental restorations, as these might compromise the treatment and expose the tooth to further damage or decay.

How To Prevent Future Cracked Teeth

Woman eating healthy

Preventing future dental issues, specifically cracked teeth, involves key strategies that can significantly diminish the risk and protect oral health. Here’s how:

  • Mind Your Diet: To support strong teeth, incorporate a balanced diet rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Crunchy fruits and vegetables can naturally clean your teeth, whereas reducing sugary snacks and acidic beverages can decrease the risk of cavities and enamel wear.
  • Wear Protective Gear: If you engage in contact sports or activities with a high risk of facial injury, wearing a mouthguard is essential. A custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist offers the best protection and comfort.
  • Avoid Using Teeth as Tools: Using your teeth to open packages, crack nuts, or for any purpose other than eating can lead to chips and cracks. Try to break this habit and use appropriate tools instead.
  • Address Bruxism: Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism) can significantly weaken your teeth over time, making them more susceptible to cracks. If you suspect you grind your teeth, especially at night, consult your dentist about getting a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Does it Hurt?

Naturally, you feel some discomfort during dental procedures; however, here at Casa Dental, we strive to minimize as much discomfort for our patients as possible so that you will have a pleasant experience in getting your new teeth.

Conclusion

Taking care of your oral health is essential to ensure the success and longevity of your dental treatments. Recognising the critical importance of maintaining diligent oral hygiene, adhering to your dentist’s aftercare advice, and incorporating regular check-ups can significantly influence the success of your dental treatments and overall oral health. Particularly when dealing with something as delicate as a cracked tooth, the guidance highlighted stresses the potential severity and the importance of seeking prompt, professional advice. Delaying treatment can lead to further complications, making a strong case for addressing dental concerns immediately. 

If you suspect a cracked tooth or any other dental concern, I encourage you not to hesitate. Contact your Casa Dental professionals today for expert advice and treatment tailored to protect and prevent cracked teeth and enhance your smile for years.

Let Us Help You in Taking Care of Your Dental Health

Casa Dental ensures to provide the first-class service to a wide range of clientele including local and expatriate patients from young to old.
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