Another tool in our diagnostic arsenal is fiberoptic transillumination. By using a small dental transilluminator light, we are able to identify small micro-cracks in a tooth. The biting forces of the teeth and the internal stresses from fillings can cause cracks in the teeth. Many times, micro-fractures are harmless, but sometimes these expand into larger fractures and can cause a cusp or even a root to separate.
There are several ways of dealing with microfractures. In most cases, we only need to monitor it. However, if we identify the source as a recurring pressure from chewing forces, there are several options, including doing a bite adjustment, making a mouthguard to minimize forces from clenching, placing a small bonded composite restoration or placing a restoration that will protect the cusp – spreading out the forces.
Small microfractures can be pathways for bacteria to get into a tooth. They can also expand and they can extend below the gumline, creating a situation that is difficult to repair a tooth. When we identify a fracture, it’s often good to look at why it happened, what’s causing it and if it can be stopped or prevented from progressing.
If you are in the Muskegon area of Michigan, schedule an appointment with us at Lumbertown Dental Wellness and have Dr. James R. Donley do a comprehensive examination and help you protect your teeth.