It may be difficult for you to determine if you have a tooth that is cracked because you may not feel any pain, or you may have pain that comes and goes, or only when biting down, eating or drinking. Additionally, a crack may not be visible to you and may be difficult to detect on an x-ray. However, a tooth that is cracked can put you at risk for further oral disease and perhaps even the loss of the tooth.
It is possible for cracked teeth to occur from a number of causes such as:
- Wear over time
- Large fillings or restorations
- Tooth grinding or jaw clenching
- An uneven biting surface
- Chewing on items like hard candy, ice, unpopped popcorn, nuts, or non-food items
- Accidents or injuries to the mouth
- Extreme temperature exposures like cold drinks following hot food.
Therefore, to help lower the risk for cracked teeth, avoid biting on hard objects and try to be aware of and change the habit of jaw clenching or teeth grinding. A mouthguard or retainer can help prevent this while sleeping. Moreover, wear a protective mouthguard when participating in sports or activities that could cause injury to your teeth.
When you have a cracked tooth, biting down causes the crack to open and may irritate the soft tissue of pulp inside the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels. Not only can this cause the tooth to become sensitive or painful, but it can damage the pulp and allow it to become diseased.
The treatment for a cracked tooth varies depending on the size of the crack and whether it is causing you discomfort. Very small cracks may require no treatment at all, however, cracks that have allowed the tooth pulp to become damaged or diseased may require endodontic treatment in order to save the tooth. When cracks are too severe, the tooth may need to be removed if it can’t be saved.
Most importantly, regular dental checkups can allow cracked teeth to be identified in their early stages and may prevent pain, sensitivity, more extensive treatment later, or the loss of teeth. Cracked teeth can worsen when left untreated, whereas a dentist can often provide therapies that can alleviate pain and allow your teeth to continue to give you many years of use.
When you have pain or sensitivity or suspect that you may have a cracked tooth, don’t wait to see the dentist. It may save you future more costly treatment or discomfort and could even save your tooth.
If would like more information or have concerns about cracked teeth, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.