Oh no, is it a cracked tooth?

A cracked tooth is actually a fracture. Signs of a cracked tooth: sudden pain right after you stop biting or when a tooth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures. Often times, the pain comes and goes, and you and your dentist may have a hard time figuring out which tooth is causing the problem.

 

A cracked tooth is pretty common. It can happen from: 

  • Chewing on hard objects or foods like ice, nuts or hard candy.
  • Wear and tear and multiple fillings over time on a tooth.
  • A blow to the mouth.
  • Tooth grinding or clenching.

 

The good news?  These teeth can often be restored to relieve symptoms and prevent further damage. Teeth aren’t like bone fractures. They don’t heal by themselves. Most require some treatment, ranging from minor adjustments of the bite and a restoration, to root canals, crowns and unfortunately sometimes even extraction. The key to successful treatment of a cracked tooth is early detection and treatment.

Tooth fractures are often due to large fillings or multiple replacement of fillings over time. They most often occur in the lower molars. Trauma from oral piercings have also been found to cause tooth fractures.

Once a diagnosis has been made, a dentist may:

  • Adjust the bite to relieve pressure on the tooth and provide temporary relief. 
  • Perform procedures such as a temporary filling or placement of an orthodontic band around the tooth, as a temporary measure until symptoms resolve. 
  • Perform a root canal if the crack is deep. 
  • Opt for a more permanent restoration (if the discomfort has been eliminated), like a filling or crown.

 

It is good to know that not every line that looks like a crack on your teeth is an actual “cracked tooth” that requires care. Most adults will develop “craze lines” in the enamel of their teeth. These do not usually go past the tooth enamel, do not cause any symptoms and require no treatment.

 

 

Cracked teeth. American Association of Endodontists.  http://www.aae.org/patients/symptoms/cracked-teeth.aspx. Accessed September 2017.

Do You Have a Cracked Tooth? Colgate Oral Care Center  http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/cracked-tooth syndrome/article/ada-02-do-you-have-a-cracked-tooth.  Accessed September 20173Lubisich EB, Hilton TJ, Ferracane J. Cracked Teeth:  A review of the literature.  J Esthetic Restorative Dentistry.  2010 June 22(3).