Untreated tooth decay inevitably leads to significant deterioration of the tooth's structure. As the tooth fails, segments begin to detach — typically in response to the ongoing bite pressure that a tooth experiences. However, sometimes this deterioration results in the tooth splitting, forming a crack that runs down its entire vertical length. Clearly, a split tooth is a very serious matter. But can a split tooth be saved?
See Your Dentist Immediately
You must see your dentist as soon as you realise that your tooth has split. Since this action can trigger extreme pain once the split has exposed the nerve at the centre of the tooth, it can result in a dental emergency. If you don't actually experience pain or discomfort, this shouldn't be interpreted as a sign that the damage isn't especially bad. You will eventually experience pain if the tooth is not repaired, so prompt treatment is essential.
Remove the Tooth's Dental Pulp
Unfortunately, a dentist cannot just simply patch the split using a composite dental resin. This is only possible with a hairline crack limited to the tooth's surface enamel. More extensive measures are needed when the tooth has in fact split into two or more segments. It's probable that you will need a root canal to remove your dental pulp, which is the nerve inside the tooth. Since the nerve's protective shell has been breached, inflammation and infection of the pulp are generally unavoidable. The pulp will be removed, with the pulp chamber then filled with a latex material known as gutta-percha.
Rebuild the Tooth
After your root canal, the dentist will outline the possible next steps. When the tooth has segmented, it may not be possible to save it in its entirety. An X-ray will determine if any of the tooth's segments still have a functional, vital root structure. If so, this segment can be left, with the other segment extracted. A small post is inserted into the tooth's pulp chamber, and this creates a frame for the missing sections of the tooth to be replaced with composite dental resin. This is then completed with a dental crown for maximum stability and to ensure the tooth looks as it did prior to its deterioration.
The best way to avoid a split tooth is to avoid tooth decay. As such, you must see your dentist as soon as you can. To learn more, contact a service like Geelong Dental Group.