WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CRACK A TOOTH?

If you experience pain in your teeth when chewing or when your teeth are exposed to heat or cold, you might have a cracked tooth. A cracked tooth can be caused by several factors such as:

  1. Biting hard foods like ice or hard candy
  2. A physical injury to the mouth
  3. Grinding of the teeth
  4. A large filling

Cracked teeth can be painful because the crack causes the pulp inside the tooth to get irritated during biting or chewing. The pulp is the soft tissue under the hard enamel and dentin layers of the tooth which contains the blood vessels and nerves. When the nerve gets irritated we feel pain.

HOW IS A CRACKED TOOTH TREATED?

At Smooth Dental Group Dr. Elizabeth Tran will first determine the type of crack through an oral examination and X-ray. The treatment will depend on the type of crack and will be explained to you based on your individual case.

Symptoms of cracked teeth may include, sharp pain when biting, pain when grinding the teeth, sharp pain when drinking or eating cold beverages and food, and pain when eating or drinking sugary substances. Sometimes the patient will be able to determine the exact tooth from which the symptoms are originating, but this is not always the case.

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TYPES OF CRACKS AND THEIR TREATMENT INCLUDE:

    1. Craze lines: These are superficial cracks in the enamel of the tooth and can be left untreated as they do not affect biting or chewing.
    2. Vertical cracks: Vertical cracks extend from the crown to the gum. If left untreated the crack could get worse and the tooth might break into two pieces. The dentist will place a crown over the cracked tooth to prevent the crack from spreading below the gum and restore tooth function. If the crack spreads below the gum the patient might have to undergo a root canal or have the tooth extracted depending on the amount of damage to the tooth.
    3. Fractured cusp: If part of the chewing surface has broken off, the dentist can either reattach the broken bit or place a filling in the broken area. A crown can also be fitted to protect the broken tooth.

Contact us at Smooth Dental and Orthodontics if you need treatment for a cracked tooth.