You may be surprised to learn that the human jaw is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom and can exert a tremendous amount of pressure in order to chew food. Certainly, it may not be tested as much by modern-day standards when compared to Stone Age man as diets tend to be a lot more refined, but it's nevertheless impressive. 

To cope with this downward force, your teeth are also remarkably resilient and will normally break through whatever is on the menu today, but occasionally you will go past the tipping point and cause a nasty fracture. What can you do when this situation arises?

Progressively Worse

It's not uncommon to experience a simple chip or a crack in a tooth, and this can happen for a variety of reasons. The tooth in question may have developed a weakness over time, or may already have a larger, old-style amalgam filling that's not really doing its job anymore. If a tiny part of the tooth chips off, then this won't cause you any significant discomfort, although you will notice the remaining sharp edge right away. Occasionally the nerve will be exposed, and you'll experience a reaction to any cold or hot foods very quickly.

Revealing a Crack

Sometimes, a crack will develop which can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint. You may bite down on the tooth to confirm that you have an issue but not feel any pain, only to recoil as soon as you release the pressure. This type of crack may only become evident following an x-ray.

Serious Break

If you've been trying to masticate a walnut and the food has won the battle, then you may have a serious break. These can go all the way from the top to the bottom and will readily expose the nerve. Furthermore, you may get a mouthful of blood if the break is particularly bad and will be ultrasensitive to any situation. It may even be difficult to breathe in cold air due to the position of the nerve.

In this latter case, you will need to call the emergency dentist as soon as possible, as you will likely need to get root canal treatment to deal with the exposed nerve. You may also have to have a full restoration performed including a crown so that you can chew and eat properly once again.

Getting Relief

The good news is that relief is a phone call away and as far as your nearest emergency dentist. Just remember to soak those almonds first in the future, so you don't experience this trauma again!