How can I prevent my teeth from fracturing?
Most fractures cannot be avoided because they happen when you least expect them. However, you can reduce the risk of breaking teeth by:
- Trying to eliminate clenching habits during waking hours;
- Avoiding chewing hard objects (e.g. bones, pencils, ice) and using teeth as a tool;
- Avoiding chewing hard foods such as pork crackling and hard-grain bread.
If you think you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist if a night guard or a splint will be of use to you. Individuals who have problems with tooth wear or “cracked tooth syndrome” should consider wearing a night guard while sleeping. This will absorb most of the grinding forces.
Relaxation exercises may be beneficial.
It is very important to preserve the strength of your teeth so they are less susceptible to fracture.
Try to prevent dental decay and have any dental decay treated early. Heavily decayed and therefore heavily filled teeth are weaker than teeth that have never been filled.
How does the dentist treat a cracked tooth? It depends on the direction and severity of the crack. If the crack is small enough, a filling may be used. Bonded white fillings and bonded amalgam fillings will hold the tooth together making it less likely to crack. Sometimes the cracked part of the tooth fractures off during the removal of the filling and this can be replaced with a new filling. Your dentist may first place an orthodontic band around the tooth to keep it together. If the pain settles, the band is replaced with a filling that covers the fractured portion of tooth (or the whole biting surface). Other options include the placement of gold or porcelain fillings or even a crown.