While a lot of patients can feel a chipped, cracked or broken tooth with the tip of their tongue, many times that is not the case. Sometimes a fissure is flush with the enamel and leaves no trace of its existence. It doesn’t take a large fissure for bacteria to begin to eat its way in and decay the enamel, eventually reaching all the way to the pulp. It doesn’t take a lot of decay to disease a tooth to the point that it cannot be saved.
When a dentist is doing a routine exam, they will look for any damage or breakage. If it is found early enough, the damage could be stopped when it is minimal and repaired so that it will not continue to deteriorate. This is why examinations should be scheduled on a regular basis.
Patients often believe that they can spot a chipped, cracked or broken tooth by doing a visual inspection, but that isn’t always the case either. It is best to let the professionals use the equipment that they have in order to look closely at the exterior and interior of the teeth, gums and roots to see potential problems in their infancy.
There are some fissures that aren’t dangerous, like craze lines. There are a host of other types of fissures and splits that can become extremely serious if not properly taken care of. It is important for a dentist to find and diagnose any problems early on. Splits and fissures that have been ignored can often result in more dire procedures, such as a full extraction, and that is the last resort for most patients.