A cracked tooth is a serious concern, and it is one that should be addressed with us right away if you notice that something is wrong. There are a variety of different types of cracks, and while you may not even notice any, others can be quite painful and can severely alter your quality of life. Find out what exactly happens when your tooth cracks, why you experience pain and discomfort, and what treatment options exist to restore your tooth.
Tooth Crack Causes
There are numerous factors that may result in cracks within the teeth. In some cases, the cause of the crack is just the start of the pain that you’ll experience until the tooth is repaired. Some of the most common causes of tooth cracks include:
- Chewing on hard foods or objects, such as hard candy, pencils, or ice
- Trauma, including an accident or a blow to the mouth
- Uneven chewing pressure
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Loss of part of the tooth structure due to large fillings or other restoration
- Gum disease if bone loss has resulted, as the teeth will be more likely to experience root fractures
- Sudden changes in your mouth temperature
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
In some cases, it may be difficult to tell that you have cracked a tooth, as it can be hard to identify just what is wrong with your mouth. You may experience pain periodically when you are chewing, especially when you release biting pressure, but in some cases, it may be difficult to determine exactly which tooth it is that is causing you pain. Extreme temperatures such as cold could cause discomfort, and you may also experience sensitivity to sweetness.
Much of the pain and discomfort associated with a cracked tooth has to do with the pressure you place on it while biting, as this can cause the crack to open. After you stop biting, the pressure is released. This can result in a sharp pain when the crack closes quickly.
Despite the fact that a crack in your tooth may only be microscopic, when pressure causes it to open, pulp irritation may result. The pulp is the soft tissue found deep within the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves, and if it is irritated, the tooth can become extremely sensitive.
Some tooth cracks are also asymptomatic, meaning they won’t hurt. It will all depend on the severity of the crack as well as the pulp’s response to the irritants that enter into the tooth. In some cases, your tooth may be cracked for a considerable amount of time before you notice symptoms, and that is when dentists often get involved.
Fixing Your Cracked Tooth
The exact treatment that will be used to fix you cracked tooth will depend on how soon the problem is detected. If a crack is caught early, you may only need to a simple restoration in order to hold the tooth together and prevent pain. In other cases, if the pulp has been aggravated to the point where an infection has developed, a root canal followed by the placement of a crown may be necessary. In extreme cases, if a crack has extended past the gum line, we may need to extract the tooth completely, and you might need to choose a replacement restoration to get back the structure, function, and appearance of your smile.
If you are concerned that you have a cracked tooth, please contact our office as soon as possible for a consultation. An appointment is recommended promptly, as the sooner that you get treatment, the more effective the end result will be.