Cracked teeth become more of a threat as we age, as our teeth tend to weaken as we get older. This makes them susceptible to tiny hairline fractures that cannot be viewed by the naked eye. In addition, potentially damaging habits such as clenching or grinding your teeth and chewing on hard objects make our teeth more susceptible to cracks. Cracked tooth syndrome is also common in teeth that contain a large tooth filling, which can result in the weakening of any remaining healthy tooth structure over time.
Cracked teeth do not always show any visible signs of damage, but they may give off a variety of symptoms, including severe pain when chewing, most often when releasing biting pressure. You may also experience pain when your tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures. In many cases, the pain may come and go, making it difficult to locate the source.
WHY CRACKED TEETH ARE PAINFUL
The pressure of biting causes the crack in a tooth to open, resulting in a brief but sharp pain. In addition, if the pulp becomes irritated, this can cause further pain, and the tooth may become sensitive to extreme heat and cold. The pulp can also be damaged or diseased from the crack. If that happens, root canal therapy may be required to save the tooth.
TYPES OF CRACKED TEETH
Cracked tooth syndrome comes in a variety of ways. The treatment that Dr. Linda King will perform depends on the type, location and extent of the crack.
This type of crack is usually vertical, originating from the crown of the tooth and working its way down to the roots. In these cases, our dentist will most likely perform a root canal and restore your tooth with a dental crown. If the crack has extended below the gumline, the tooth may need to be extracted.
Craze lines are tiny cracks that only cause damage to the outer layer of your tooth, or the enamel. These cracks are very common, especially in adult teeth. These types of cracks are shallow and painless, and they are no cause for concern beyond the appearance of your tooth.
This occurs when the cusp (the raised portion of the biting surface of your tooth) becomes fractured. If a fractured cusp does not break off on its own, it will need to be removed by a dentist and replaced by a dental crown. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so a root canal is often not needed.
When a cracked tooth is not treated, the crack can extend beyond the root, causing the tooth to split. Although these teeth are difficult to save, in rare instances they can be treated with a root canal.
VERTICAL ROOT FRACTURE
When the crack starts at the bottom of the root and works its way up towards the crown. If detected early on, root canal therapy may be the situation. Otherwise, the tooth will more than likely need to be extracted.
PREVENTING CRACKED TEETH
While it is not always possible to prevent cracked teeth, you can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracking:
- Avoid chewing on hard objects such as pens, ice and unpopped popcorn kernels.
- Do not clench or grind your teeth, or wear a guard if you do.
- Wear a protective mask or mouth guard when participating in contact sports.
For excellent diagnoses and treatment of cracked teeth in Locust Grove, Georgia, you can count on Sweet Spot Smiles to give you an incredible standard of oral care! To schedule an appointment with Dr. Linda King, we invite you to call our office at 770-285-2864.