Though nobody wants to deal with having a cracked tooth, it is important to know the signs, causes, and treatments for cracked teeth, and that will be the focus of this article.
How do Cracks Develop?
When a person sustains a cavity, this will weaken the integrity of that tooth, making it susceptible to fractures. Our teeth are layered with a coating of enamel that provides protection and gives them a harder surface than ordinary bones, and when cavities appear, they allow decay to spread into the lower part of the tooth. Unfortunately, fillings do not negate the fact that chewing exhibits a tremendous amount of biting force that will act on the tooth, often causing it to split.
Cracks can occur due to grinding or clenching pointed teeth, and people who do so develop stronger muscles that, in turn, create a greater likelihood that teeth will crack due to mastication. Sudden trauma can cause cracks, like when a person bites down on something hard like an olive pit or a steak bone, and root canals can leave teeth weakened, because a filling will often go deep into the middle of the tooth. Lastly, an accident can cause a tooth to splinter if a person is hit in the mouth, for example, when falling off a bicycle.
What Are the Symptoms?
It is not necessarily the case that a person will be aware of a crack or that they will feel any pain in connection with it, and often, they are found by dentists doing routine check-up work or refilling cavities. Though it is possible to sometimes see a fissure with the naked eye, they are often of microscopic size and cannot be easily detected. At times, the patient will experience sharp pains while eating that can radiate down within the tooth, and it is possible, also, to feel pain briefly when imbibing cold liquids. Some people will simply have a telltale toothache.
How Should Cracks Be Treated?
Treatment will need to depend on the cause of the splinter and where it is located. If it occurs through the middle of the tooth, this is an indication that a root canal should be performed, and when it is situated off to the sides, it is less likely that a root canal will be necessary. If the crack penetrates as far as the gum line, is it less feasible for the tooth to be saved, whereas a shallow cleft will have a greater change of salvageability. Teeth that have had prior root canals can sometimes sustain further splitting, depending on the depth of the crack, and extraction is almost always the best remedy. Teeth with previous root canals can also, on occasion, be treated with the application of a crown.
Dr. Heather J. Cadorette Family and Cosmetic Dentistry can help address problems due to cracks and also provides a number of services, including bridges, implants, pediatric dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and more. Call today to schedule an appointment, and their friendly staff will work hard to see to all your dentistry needs.