So here is the scenario. You’ve just had a root canal and you are recuperating, maybe still a little woozy after your dental appointment. Then you make a mistake and eat something too hard or trip when the cat is running around your legs and blam! Your tooth is now cracked. Can a tooth cracked after a root canal still be saved? We’ll talk about this and more in today’s article, by advising you about the root canal process, what happens if you crack a tooth after, and what you should do if this happens to you. Let’s talk about post root canal cracking!
What happens if your tooth cracks after root canal?
After a root canal your tooth is vulnerable to cracking so you will need to be careful. Generally there will be pain but not necessarily all the time, it might just manifest as an occasional ache and can sometimes go undetected for months. Once you make it to the dentist they will examine your tooth to look for cracking it it is not always visible to the naked eye or even X-rays. Thankfully your dentist has more than a few tricks up their sleeve and they can next try to find the cracks with a special dye and ultraviolet light.
What can the dentist do if my tooth is cracked after a root canal?
A lot is going to depend on the severity and location of the crack. Cracks can sometimes descend below the gum line or they could just be minor, your dentist will need to examine your teeth in order to gauge the best options. Typically with severe cracking it will require extraction and one the following:
- Bridging – This process involves crowning the two teeth on the opposite side of your extracted tooth to act as anchor points for an artificial tooth which will be placed between them.
- Implant – If bridging is undesirable, an ‘artificial root’ may be inserted into the jaw in order to support an artificial tooth.
- Partial denture – One or more teeth may be replaced easily with partial dentures should one require a less ‘surgical’ option for remediating the missing tooth.
What if the cracking is caught
If the cracking has been identified early then your dentist may be able to simply apply a technique called bonding. With bonding, a composite resin is applied to the cracks and hardened with the application of a special type of light. Ideally this will seal the crack for the lifetime of the bonding, which is typically up to 5 years. Alternately, your dentist may be able to employ a filling, which can last longer depending on the materials selected.
What if the only option is extraction?
Sometimes this happens. If there is no option but extraction then the tooth will need to be removed. However, once a tooth is removed it is hardly a ‘game over’ scenario. There are many options for replacing the tooth which you may employ, options such as:
- Bridge – A fixed bridge is one option which you might employ that works quite well. The opposing teeth are crowned and serve as an anchor-point for an artificial tooth in the place of your former tooth. If this seems too invasive, a resin-retained bridge is an option but if the missing tooth is used for chewing a fixed bridge is a stronger option.
- Dental implant – Dental implants are all the craze these days and they essentially consist of an artificial root that is attached to your jaw to support a newly implanted artificial tooth. These are durable, look good, and can last a very long time but if multiple need to be replaced then this might not be the best option.
” More complex dentures may be ‘snapped in’ with a magnet.”
- Partial dentures – If you are on a budget and just want to get that gap filled, partial dentures come in many types and price ranges. A cheaper set can often be fabricated at the time of your dental visit, while more complex dentures may be ‘snapped in’ with a magnet and dental implant strategy. If this sounds good to you then be sure to check with your dentist for details.
How do I prevent tooth cracking in the first place?
Prevention is always the best option and a few little things can make all of the difference when it comes to strengthening your teeth. Be sure that you are doing one of more of the following in order to keep those pearly whites strong:
- Proper brushing – Be sure that you are brushing properly by checking to make sure your brush is held at a 45 degree angle when you are using it. Brush thoroughly in small circles and don’t forget to floss!
- Use fluoride toothpaste – Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel, so be sure that your toothpaste has it. Thankfully, most brands are going to cover this, but not all of them so be sure to check.
- Less sugar is better – Aside from your favorite candies and pastries, keep in mind that a lot of fruit juices have enormous amounts of sugar added to them. Try to minimize your intake when you can to keep your teeth strong.
- Get your daily calcium – Calcium builds bones, so make sure that you are getting your recommended daily dose. Supplements are good for this or you can take the old-fashioned route with milk. Just be sure to get your calcium!
In this article we’ve talked about what you can do f you’ve cracked your tooth after a root canal, as well as discussed a little preventative maintenance which you may employ to help to keep your teeth strong. Cut down on that sugar, brush and floss regular, and don’t forget that even if the cracked tooth needs to be extracted, you’ve got some amazing modern options to help you to keep on smiling!