Do you feel a sharp pain in your teeth upon biting food? Or do you prefer chewing food from only one side of the mouth because of pain on the other side? Then you must see your dentist as soon as possible, because there are chances that your tooth could be cracked or broken.
If left untreated, you might end up in losing your affected tooth. But don’t worry, with an appropriate and timely treatment, your tooth can be successfully restored.
A variety of factors are responsible for a cracked tooth:
- Grinding teeth or bruxism
- Biting or chewing hard foods like ice, nuts or sugary hard sweets
- Accidental trauma to teeth
- Loss of tooth enamel
- Exposure of enamel to extreme hot or cold food
- Faulty teeth alignment which puts lot of pressure on a particular tooth
- Root canal treatment that makes a tooth brittle
Cracked tooth is painful because the pressure of biting or chewing causes the crack to open. Additionally, the soft, inner tissue of the tooth is damaged.
Once you stop chewing, the crack closes as the pressure is released, resulting in gnawing pain. If the crack gets bigger and widened, a piece of the affected tooth may break apart. Further, you may develop an infection in the surrounding area with pus formation. This is also called “cracked tooth syndrome”.
Your dentist has special tools or may use a staining technique to identify the cracked tooth.
Depending upon the size and depth of the crack, treatment modality differs from patient to patient. The tiny cracks generally don’t require a dental treatment, but just regular dental checkups. A minor crack in the tooth that has led to chipped enamel may only require a dental filling.
How is a cracked tooth diagnosed?
Initially a small crack in the tooth may go unnoticed for months by most patients. As a result, dentists usually receive cases only once the symptoms start worsening. It is the most difficult of dental problems to diagnose, because you may not be able to tell which tooth is really hurting. Such a small hairline crack may not be evident even on the x-ray image. This is why digital photography is very helpful to help diagnosis this problem.
If the damage has occurred to a tooth, a procedure such as tooth bonding, a veneer or a crown will be needed to give your tooth a natural appearance and to cause it function as it needs to function without cracking more.
On the other hand, a severely cracked tooth many need to be extracted.
In the event of a cracked tooth, it is important to consult your dentist as soon as possible, to determine the best course of action.*