Cracked teeth can cause many problems including infection, discomfort and lack of ability to eat properly as well as impacting on our ability to relax and sleep due to pain.Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, or even the release of biting pressure. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort.
Cracked teeth are usually caused by dental trauma, clenching or grinding. Left untreated, the crack in the tooth can extend causing severe pain particularly on biting, dental abscess, facial swelling and even tooth loss.
Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.
It can be difficult to diagnose cracked teeth, as the pain associated with the tooth can sometimes come and go quite suddenly. Dr Yoganathan uses the dental operating microscope and three dimensional imaging from cone beam computer tomography (CBCT) to asses your tooth for cracks.
Cracks that do not extend into the roots of the tooth are usually treatable if diagnosed early. If the crack has extended into the pulp tissue of a tooth, root canal treatment is recommended to save the tooth.
What can you do to prevent teeth from cracking?
You can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracks, although they are not completely avoidable:
Don't chew on hard objects such as ice, unpopped popcorn kernels or pens.
Don't clench or grind your teeth. If you do, talk to your dentist about getting a retainer or other mouthguard to protect your teeth.
When playing contact sports, be sure to wear a mouthguard or protective mask.