One of the most com­mon rea­sons that patients come to see Dr. Erik Mendelsohn for den­tal emergencies is cracked or bro­ken teeth.  For some rea­son, this always seems to hap­pen on week­ends, when you’re out at din­ner, or right after Serenity Smile Designs is closed for a long week­end—go fig­ure.  This is avoid­able, though, if you act pre­ven­tively.  Here’s the key—and this is one of the rea­sons we use dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy so exten­sively to com­mu­ni­cate with our patients—very often these teeth won’t hurt at all until they break.   But so often, what we’ll hear is, “Doc­tor Mendelsohn, it never both­ered me at all, and then last night I was eating a sandwich and a big chunk of the tooth just broke off!”

Many dentists still go by the old phi­los­o­phy of: “If it’s not broken and it doesn’t hurt, leave it alone.”  However, this is not the philosophy of Serenity Smile Designs. Dr. Erik Mendelsohn states that the prob­lem with the old phi­los­o­phy is that when the tooth finally does break, it will take more time, cost more money, and until it’s fixed is often pretty painful than if it had been treated before it broke.  If it’s a small crack, you may treat it with a night­guard and a fill­ing.  If it’s a big crack, you could treat it with a night­guard and a crown.  But if it breaks, you might need a night­guard, root canal, build-up fill­ing, and a crown.  And this is all because the small crack wasn’t treated with a filling.

Research tells us that teeth with com­pos­ite resin (tooth-colored) fill­ings crack just as often as those with sil­ver fill­ings.  With Dr. Erik Mendelsohn’s expe­ri­ence over 10 years, how­ever, he feels that teeth with LARGE sil­ver fill­ings crack much more fre­quently than with com­pos­ite fill­ings.  But even the bond­ing process can’t stop a crack from form­ing if the stress isn’t relieved.

It does seem that some cracks form around old fill­ings most of the time, but they can even hap­pen in teeth that have never had any work done.  All it takes is a lot of force (usu­ally grind­ing and/or clench­ing your teeth) and enough time.

Here’s an exam­ple: A young man in his late 30’s clenches his teeth so hard that his back molar split com­pletely in half: The tooth never had any previous den­tal work, and in fact, it didn’t even have a cav­ity.  But he split it so far that it had to be extracted.  Dr. Erik Mendelsohn rec­om­mended a night­guard in order to prevent this happening to any of the patient’s other teeth!

So what is Dr. Erik Mendelsohn’s main point?  Sim­ply this: if you have been told that your tooth is cracked, at the very least, please make sure that you have a night­guard, because clench­ing and grind­ing of your teeth is the most com­mon cause.  But also—get it treated BEFORE it breaks.  It’s less expen­sive and a lot less uncom­fort­able that way.   And you won’t have to worry about it break­ing over that long week­end or hol­i­day when we’re out of the office!

Don’t wait for your tooth to break! Make an appointment today with Dr. Erik Mendelsohn by calling our office at (609) 646-1989.