Does your child have a cracked, chipped, or broken baby tooth? Your child’s first teeth, known as baby teeth or primary teeth, can sustain damage. If this occurs it can be considered a minor dental emergency. A cracked or broken tooth can be extremely painful, especially if it is deep enough to reach the nerves inside of the tooth. Call your dentist right away if your child has a cracked baby tooth.
What Are the Options for Treatment?
When facing a cracked baby tooth situation, there are a few different options:
- Composite Filling.The crack may be able to be filled in like a cavity to prevent the tooth from breaking further and the soft pulp inside the tooth from being exposed. If the damage is not too severe, a filling is the easiest option. A chipped or broken tooth may also be reshaped with composite resin as well to protect the tooth and help it to look more natural.
- Crown.Another option, especially for a tooth that is severely damaged, is a crown. A crown completely covers the tooth and can be made of porcelain to match the natural tooth material, or it can be metal. If the tooth is near the back of the mouth, a metal crown would be less noticeable and less expensive. But a front tooth may require a porcelain crown to look natural.
- Extraction.It may seem to make sense to have the tooth pulled. However, while it is a baby tooth that will eventually fall out, depending on the location of the tooth it could be years away from coming out naturally. Extracting the tooth too soon could cause the surrounding teeth to shift out of place and crowd out the permanent tooth before it comes in. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. Extractions are also invasive, and in many cases unnecessary.
- Leave it Alone and Monitor it. If the crack is small and superficial and there is no pain associated with it, it may be fine to leave it alone. However, you should carefully monitor the crack to ensure it isn’t getting any bigger and that it isn’t causing any pain. Your dentist will also monitor the crack until the tooth comes out naturally. In some instances, the tooth will discolor or the inside of the tooth (the “nerve”) will become infected and/or cause a dental abscess. It is important for a dentist to always do routine check-ups on teeth that have been cracked or subject to trauma.
Choosing the Best Treatment Option
What’s the best treatment option? It depends on the situation. Here are the main factors to consider when it comes to deciding what to do about a cracked baby tooth:
- Pain level. If the crack is causing your child pain, something will need to be done to correct the issue. A filling or a crown should close off the pain receptors inside of the tooth.
- Tooth condition. The most severe damage could mean the tooth needs to be extracted. The next level down in severity would result in the need for a crown, then a filling. If none of the previous steps are necessary, the cracked tooth may be able to remain in place.
- Location of the tooth. Where the tooth is in the mouth may determine what the best course of action is. If the tooth is close to being ready to come out anyway, extraction may be best.
- Risk of infection. If there is a high chance that the crack could allow the soft pulp inside the tooth to become infected, it should definitely be addressed with dental treatment (a dentist will evaluate the tooth as it may need to be extracted).
Albuquerque Pediatric Dentistry Provides Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry Services
If your child has a cracked tooth, contact us at Albuquerque Pediatric Dentistry right away at 505-888-3520. We provide a variety of restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures to help correct a cracked baby tooth. We will do what is in the best interest of your child and discuss the options with you to help you decide on a course of treatment. A cracked tooth will always need routine check-ups as the nerve of the tooth may become infected thus causing a dental abscess.