A tooth can chip at the most inopportune time. You may be enjoying a piece of hard candy when you hear a tell-tale crunching sound. Even though a cracked tooth can be disheartening, it can often be restored. In fact, as long as the crack has not extended through the root of your tooth, it is likely treatable. Here are a few ways that your dentist can treat a cracked tooth.
A Dental Crown
A dental crown is often used to treat a dental crack. The crown can be made from a number of materials, such as stainless steel, gold, porcelain, resin or porcelain-over-metal. Stainless steel crowns are most often used for primary teeth. However, for adults who desire a tooth-colored crown, porcelain, porcelain-over-metal or resin are often selected.
Before a porcelain or porcelain-over-metal crown is placed, a mold of your tooth must be fashioned. The crown, when fabricated using the mold, should fit the contours of your mouth perfectly and be difficult to distinguish from a natural tooth. The translucency of porcelain make it almost identical to tooth enamel in appearance.
Once the dental crown is placed over the cracked tooth, it covers the crack and reinforces the structure of the tooth to make the worsening of the crack less likely. Concealing the crack also helps prevent oral bacteria from invading the compromised tooth.
Dental Bonding Material
Composite bonding material may also be used to fill and cover a crack in a tooth. The bonding material, which is made of a flexible resin, is applied to the tooth and hardened into place. The dentist molds the pliable material to the tooth for a natural appearance and uses a special ultraviolet light to harden the substance.
The bonding material may last for several years before additional material needs to be added.
Dental veneers are wafer-like pieces of tooth-shaped porcelain or resin that are bonded to the front of a tooth. They can correct dental discoloration, misshapen teeth, minor misalignments and even chipped teeth. Additionally, a veneer can be bonded to a cracked tooth to correct its appearance and strengthen the tooth. Once applied, the veneer will help the tooth look as though it was never damaged.
To learn about restoring a cracked tooth, visit a cosmetic dentist, such as Webster John B DDS, in your area. Be sure to make an appointment as soon as you notice the crack. A delay in treatment could result in further damage to your tooth.