Our teeth are remarkably strong. If we take good care of them, brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist twice a year, they stand a good chance of lasting a long, long time. But sometimes, no matter how well we care for them, life happens, and our teeth get chipped split, cracked, or broken. It can happen in several ways:
- A blow to the face or mouth
- Biting down on something hard
- Untreated cavities
Neglecting to obtain proper care for a damaged tooth can lead to extreme discomfort (even if it didn’t actually hurt at the time the damage took place), but it can also lead to potentially dangerous issues throughout the body.
The formation of an abscess
When a tooth is split, cracked, or broken, bacteria can enter the softer layer of tissue under the enamel and then work its way down into the soft inner pulp of the tooth, which then becomes infected. The bacteria then spreads into the alveolar bone that surrounds and supports the tooth, and an abscess forms.
An abscess can also be formed when tooth damage exposes a nerve. Once the nerve is exposed, the cells inside the tissue begin to die. The bacterial infection and resulting pus forms the abscess.
In a nutshell, an abscess is a pocket of infected material.
What’s so bad about an abscess?
Most abscesses cause pain, which makes them bad enough. Most people will seek treatment to address the pain. But an abscess is not always accompanied by pain. They can go unnoticed for months or even years, but an abscess will not go away on its own. Untreated, the infection may spread to other parts of the body, causing serious complications and health concerns. Some of the more dangerous side effects of an untreated abscess include:
If you look at a diagram of the different sets of sinuses located in the face area, you may be able to see how close the upper tooth roots are to the maxillary sinuses. An untreated tooth infection in this area can spread to the sinuses.
Your tooth roots are surrounded and supported by alveolar bones in your jaw. This makes these bones vulnerable to the spread of infection from an abscessed tooth.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis
In this rare disorder, a blood clot forms in the large vein at the base of the skull. It is usually caused by the spread of bacteria from a facial, dental, or nasal infection. It is very serious can lead to infection of the brain, a stroke, blindness, or death.
An untreated infection will always become worse. It will travel through the body (as noted in some of the above infections originating with the teeth), and when the bacterium enters the bloodstream, it can infect the entire body. Sepsis can lead to the formation of the blood clots that cause stroke, heart attack, and death.
Seek treatment for split, cracked, or broken teeth right away
Not all damaged teeth will lead to the worst infections mentioned above, but why take even a small chance with your health and your life? Come in to Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo, and let us address any damaged teeth you have.
Treatment may include:
Placement of filling material
Depending on the amount of damage done, there may be a chance we can fix or save the tooth. But in the event that we need to extract the tooth, you can rest assured in the knowledge that we specialize in dental implants.
If necessary, we’ll replace your damaged tooth with implants designed to look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. This means, you no longer have to risk the pain of chewing on a damaged tooth or worrying about infection. You can take a deep breath go back to enjoying your meals – pain free.
At Town Center Dentistry, we won’t just take care of your damaged tooth – we’ll take care of you.