Our teeth are very strong, but they are not invincible. Using them to open packages, ‘cut’ thread, or as a means to keep your fingernails trimmed are a few of the ways you can abuse your dentition leading to the potential for broken or cracked teeth. Trauma to the dental nerve from a broken tooth can lead to the need for root canal therapy.
A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a procedure where the contents of the root canals of a tooth are removed. Those contents are made up of the dental nerve, blood, and pulp. Once a tooth has erupted, the nerve is no longer needed. Saving the tooth with a root canal is a much better option than resorting to the only other choice, which is tooth extraction.
Indications that you may need a root canal include sensitivity to hot or cold, pain in a tooth when biting down, a sore like a pimple on the gum, or swelling. Your dentist will take an x-ray to determine that a root canal is needed. The x-ray is also needed to identify the number of canals involved; it is imperative that all canals be treated for a successful procedure.
The root canal gets underway by numbing the tooth involved; a rubber dam will isolate the tooth to keep it dry. The dentist will create an access point in the tooth. Using endodontic files, each canal is cleared of its contents.
If infection is present, the dentist may pack the tooth with antibiotics; or may provide oral antibiotics for the patient. The access point of the tooth will need to be sealed; however, if infection was present, the dentist may wish to wait until certain the infection has cleared before permanently sealing the tooth. In many cases, a dental crown is used to seal the tooth.
You can easily see why it is so important to use teeth only to chew. But with that said, there are some things that should be avoided such as chewing ice or chewing on inanimate objects like pencils or pens. Learn to use proper tools like scissors, bottle openers, and nail clippers instead of your teeth.
However, if you realize you have cracked or broken your tooth, contact our team at The Dental Place as soon as possible.