If you have been diagnosed with a cracked tooth then it is important to understand that this is likely the most unpredictable dental problem we treat in the field of dentistry.
The procedures that dental technology provides dentists to employ in TRYING to save cracked teeth are; Crowns, crowns with foundations, crowns with periodontal surgery (when crack depths engage gum tissue), root canals (for pain management) and acrylic bite splints. Depending on the cracks depth and your symptoms, we may need to employ one, two, three, four or all of these five most common treatment modalities for cracked teeth.
Unfortunately, due to both diagnostic and treatment limitations, it is often not possible to know pre-operatively if a crack will prove to be too extensive for current dental procedures to achieve stability and chewing comfort. Also, with current technology it is not possible to accurately predict if or when a cracked tooth that previously achieved initial stability and chewing comfort through treatment may regress into pain, discomfort and loss of the treated tooth due to the continued propagation of internal cracking (similar to a car windshield).
It is essential that you understand and accept this reality BEFORE we attempt any treatment to try and save your cracked tooth, because, if the cracked tooth has to be extracted at anytime during or after performing crack management treatments, you will still be responsible for the full fees for all procedures rendered to that point regardless of the tooth being lost or saved. This is simply due to the fact that my cost of providing the exacting procedures needed to even attempt to save cracked natural teeth prohibit me from joining you in the financial risk associated with treating cracked teeth. This is very different from the widely known scenario where a procedure(s) is incorrectly done by a doctor, the treatment(s) failed and the patient is entitled to a refund, reduced fee or free corrective treatment procedure(s).
I can assure you that if you want to try and save your cracked tooth, I will provide you with the appropriate treatment for your particular case to try and stabilize your cracked tooth. I also assure you that I will perform your procedures at or better than the standard of care. However, I cannot guarantee that any crack treatment will be successful at stabilizing the crack(s) in your specific tooth. No honorable & ethical dentist can consistently predict crack treatment success or failure. Hence I do not offer nor infer any guarantees or assurances as to the results of good faith crack treatments performed with the intent of rendering your cracked tooth retainable and comfortable for you to chew on. No matter what we do, you may lose a treated cracked tooth.
Treating a cracked tooth is dental gambling by the patient; how much do you want to try and save the cracked natural tooth? How much money (non-refundable whether tooth saved or extracted) and time are you willing to risk in the hope of keeping a cracked natural tooth? How far along the treatment triage line of five most common cracked tooth treatments do you want to attempt in the quest to TRY and save the cracked natural tooth?
This is the underlying reason why it is so very important to me that we empower you with;
- Full knowledge of crack treatment risks
- The risks of taking out the tooth and leaving the space empty
- All your treatment options, risks and benefits to replace the tooth if it is lost
BEFORE any treatment attempts are made to save a cracked tooth. It is a very significant personal oral health value decision concerning your individual level of financial and time risk tolerance.
I both personally and professionally appreciate the dilemma that faces all patients with cracked teeth. You see, I clench and grind my teeth and have done so since I was in undergraduate school. I have cracked all 8 of my molars, had crowns put on all 8 molars, had 5 of those molars root canal treated for pain management due to cracking, had all 8 of the original crowns redone due to my cracking the crowns, and as of June 2014 at the age of 55, I am having my third set of 8 molar crowns due to having cracked most of the second set of molar crowns. This time I am having my 8 molar crowns made out of high noble gold, because they don’t break.