Many people don’t realise that a cracked tooth is a serious dental problem. A cracked tooth can lead to sensitivity, pain, and infection. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have a cracked tooth. Cracked Tooth Syndrome is a common dental problem that may affect anyone at any time. It is a condition that occurs when a tooth develops a crack or fracture, either superficially or through the entire enamel to the gum line. This blog post will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for a cracked tooth. We will also explain why prompt treatment is important to prevent further dental problems.
Common Causes of Cracked Teeth
Teeth Grinding or Clenching Habit
One of the most common causes of cracked teeth is grinding or clenching. When you grind your teeth, you apply immense pressure to your teeth, which can cause them to crack or fracture. This habit can also wear down the tooth enamel and cause other dental problems. People who have this habit should use a mouth guard to protect their teeth from damage.
Dental History that Involved Numerous Fillings
Teeth with multiple fillings are more prone to cracking because the filling can weaken the tooth structure over time.
A Natural Tooth that is Extensively Decayed
A tooth with extensive decay is more vulnerable to cracking, especially if previous dental procedures weaken it.
Trauma or Injury to the Teeth
A blow to the face or mouth can lead to tooth fractures or breaks, especially if you have a misaligned bite, which puts uneven pressure on the teeth.
Biting Down Excessively Hard on an Object
Biting down on excessively hard objects like ice, bones, or pens can cause teeth to crack or fracture.
Age-Related Wear and Tear
As people age, their teeth become more brittle and prone to fractures due to wear and tear caused by years of use.
Misaligned Bite Resulting in Uneven Pressure on the Teeth
When you have a misaligned bite, it puts uneven pressure on the teeth, causing them to crack or fracture.
Excessively Large Fillings or Those That Weaken the Tooth Structure
When you have a large filling, it can weaken the tooth structure and make it more prone to fractures.
Symptoms of Cracked Teeth
Most of the time, a cracked tooth does not show visible signs of damage. Only an X-ray can reveal it. However, several signs and symptoms indicate you may have a cracked tooth. Some of them include:
Unexplained Pain in the Affected Tooth
One of the most common symptoms of a cracked tooth is pain. If you experience pain in a tooth with no apparent cause, this could indicate a cracked tooth. The pain is usually when biting or chewing and might also worsen during hot or cold temperatures. If the pain persists, it is advisable to seek the opinion of a dentist.
Discomfort When Chewing or Biting
Another common symptom of a cracked tooth is discomfort when eating, especially chewing or biting. If you avoid chewing on one particular side of the mouth because of discomfort, this could indicate the presence of a cracked tooth.
Swelling of the Gums Around the Affected Tooth
A cracked tooth can cause swelling of the gums around the affected tooth. The swelling is usually tender and sensitive to touch. It can also lead to the formation of an abscess if left untreated. Mostly, the swelling is noticed around the gum line of the affected tooth.
Sensitivity to Hot or Cold Foods and Drinks
Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks can also indicate a cracked tooth. The sensitivity may result from the exposure of the root canal or nerve endings due to the crack. The pain may be unbearable, and patients may avoid foods that trigger the discomfort.
Significant Pain When Consuming Sugary Foods
A cracked tooth can also cause significant pain when consuming sugary foods. Sugary foods react with bacteria in the mouth and produce acid, which can cause pain in the affected tooth. If you experience pain when consuming sugary foods, it is advisable to seek dental assistance.
Difficulty Locating the Pain
Sometimes, people face difficulty locating the exact location of pain, which indicates the cracked tooth. The pain might be in one tooth, but it may radiate to other mouth areas. In such cases, consulting a dentist is essential.
Diagnosing Cracked Teeth
When you visit a dental professional, they will examine your affected tooth and the adjacent teeth to find out where the crack is and what has caused it. They will also ask if you have ever experienced pain, sensitivity, or discomfort in the affected tooth. Based on the symptoms you have been experiencing, your dentist will most likely perform some tests to diagnose the problem. Such tests may include X-rays to identify cracks above the gum line, biting on a cotton wad, or utilising a special dye to expose visible cracks.
Importance of Recognising Symptoms Early On
Early detection of cracked teeth is crucial. If left untreated, a cracked tooth can lead to a series of complicated conditions that can necessitate extensive dental procedures to restore the affected tooth. For instance, the damaged tooth will need root canal treatment if you have a vertical root fracture. Typically, the sooner you get to the dentist, the less extensive and costly treatment will be required.
One of the most common treatments for a cracked tooth is bonding. It is a quick procedure where a tooth-coloured resin is bonded to the damaged tooth. This helps to restore the tooth’s shape and prevent further damage. Bonding is often recommended for minor cracks that have not reached the gum line. Moreover, bonding is less expensive than other treatments and can be done in a single visit with your dentist.
Another option for cracked teeth is dental filling. This procedure is often used to restore teeth with a small area of decay or minor cracks. Fillings can be made of different materials, including porcelain, composite resin, or silver amalgam. However, fillings are unsuitable for extensive tooth cracks or when the crack has reached the gum line. In such cases, a more invasive treatment may be necessary.
Crowns are used when the tooth is severely damaged and bonding or filling is insufficient to restore it. A crown is a cap that covers the entire tooth above the gum line. It is made of a durable material such as porcelain, gold, or metal alloys. Crowns help protect the damaged tooth from further damage and improve its appearance. Moreover, crowns are recommended for teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment or have fractured cusps.
Root canal treatment is an invasive treatment used for more severe cracked teeth. It involves removing the damaged tooth’s pulp and replacing it with a filling material. Root canal treatment is necessary when the crack has reached the tooth’s nerve. Moreover, it helps prevent further damage and alleviates the pain caused by the cracked tooth.
Lastly, tooth extraction is considered the last resort option when all other treatments fail. This procedure is recommended for severely damaged teeth that cannot be repaired and pose a significant risk to oral health. Tooth extraction also considers your dental history, the severity of the tooth crack, and the affected tooth’s location. After extraction, the natural tooth can be replaced with dentures, bridges, or dental implants. Click this link.
Avoid Biting Down on Hard Objects
Biting on hard objects such as ice, stone, or hard candy can easily crack your teeth, especially if you have weak enamel. Therefore, it is essential to avoid such habits. Instead, use teeth-friendly snacks such as apple slices, carrots, or nuts.
Wear a Mouthguard if You Grind or Clench Your Teeth
Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, puts a lot of pressure on your teeth and can easily lead to cracked teeth. Therefore, if you suffer from bruxism, it is advisable to wear a mouthguard overnight to help protect your teeth. You can also try stress-relieving activities such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation to reduce teeth grinding caused by stress.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Regular dental checkups are vital in preventing cracked teeth. Your dentist can detect early signs of dental problems and offer treatment before they become severe. They can also clean your teeth, remove plaque buildup, and offer guidance on maintaining good oral health.
Practise Good Dental Hygiene Habits
Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily can go a long way in preventing cracked teeth. By removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth, you reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean your teeth gently.
Address Misaligned Bite Issues
Misaligned bite issues such as overbite, underbite, or crooked teeth can also lead to cracked teeth. Therefore, you should visit a dentist for assessment and treatment if you have such conditions. They can recommend braces, aligners, or other orthodontic treatments to adjust your bite and prevent cracked teeth.
If left untreated, a cracked tooth can cause pain, sensitivity, and infection. It is important to seek prompt treatment if you suspect a cracked tooth. Regular dental checkups can help detect early signs of a cracked tooth, preventing further damage. If you experience any symptoms of a cracked tooth, you can contact us immediately! With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can prevent further dental problems and save the affected tooth.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
The Obvious and the Obscure: Steps for Crack Detection and Confirmation https://www.aae.org/specialty/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/07/ltfbonusmaterial_c.pdf
Cracked Tooth Syndrome https://medical.mit.edu/sites/default/files/crackedtooth.pdf