Getting a cracked tooth is one of the most painful things you can experience. It’s so bad that it has been dubbed “the worst pain imaginable.” Cracked teeth fall into two categories:
Cracked tooth syndrome, also called a “fractured tooth” or “traumatic dental fracture,” results from a sudden impact on the teeth, which can break them right off at the gum line. This type of injury can go undetected by an individual, but it would be very obvious if it is accompanied by a filling that falls out or another broken tooth.
Cracked tooth syndrome can also be caused by chewing on something hard, such as ice, an apple seed, popcorn hulls, seeds, or bone fragments. This type of fracture is more common in children because they constantly explore their environment with their mouths. Here we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for these cracked teeth.
Causes of Cracked Teeth
There are several causes for cracked tooth:
1. Blows to the Face
Falls, accidents, and sports-related injuries can result in a fractured tooth. This is not a common cause of cracked teeth, but it occasionally happens. The force from these blows causes pain and sometimes causes cracks or chips in the enamel or even breaks off pieces of the tooth.
2. Blows to the jaw
Although not common, a blow to the jaw can cause teeth fractures. Depending on how extensive it is, the force of this type of impact may require dental treatment to repair the damage. It’s also possible that there are no symptoms immediately after receiving such an injury. Occasionally, long-term effects such as pain and sensitivity to hot and cold can develop.
3. Repetitive Chewing
Chewing on hard objects such as ice, popcorn hulls, and apple seeds can crack off pieces of tooth enamel, which exposes the inner dentin. This type of damage due to chewing is also known as attrition. Attrition typically affects the teeth that come into contact with each other and has a triangular shape because it happens during contact between the front and back of a tooth.
4. Brushing or Flossing Too Hard
It is possible to crack a tooth by brushing or flossing too vigorously, but this fracture type is not common. Usually, the pressure involved in these activities is not strong enough to cause damage to the enamel. Still, too much pressure can weaken the tooth, making it more susceptible to future fractures.
5. Grinding the Teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism) can cause damage to the enamel, making it more susceptible to fracture. This type of activity puts stress on the tooth that causes tiny cracks to form on the surface of the enamel. These small cracks are often painless but, over time, can deepen and increase in number. If a person grinds their teeth during sleep, they may not know it until they have a toothache or another symptom such as a popped filling or crown.
Symptoms of Cracked Teeth
If you think your tooth is cracked, there are several symptoms to look for. They include:
- Severe Pain at The Site of The Fracture
If a sharp, sudden pain is attributed to one specific tooth, it may have suffered a crack or chip. The sensitivity may also be accompanied by popping or shifting the tooth, which means it could be loose.
- A Broken Filling or Crown
If you notice a crack in the tooth’s surface, such as a broken filling or crown, there may be a fracture along the tooth’s root. This usually occurs in older individuals and will require treatment to correct because the fracture may extend below the gum line.
- A Deep Groove in a Tooth’s Biting Surface
If you notice a deep groove or indentation along the edge of a front tooth, there is a possibility that it has been caused by blunt force trauma to the face. There are also other possible causes for this type of damage, such as a crack in the tooth’s enamel. The groove will be painless unless there is a fracture, but it may become sensitive to hot and cold liquids or foods because this tooth area contains more nerves than other parts.
Treatment for Cracked Teeth
The treatment options depend on various factors, including the location and extent of the damage. For example, if there is a fracture near the gum line that is not visible with X-rays, it will be treated differently than a crack that is visible with radiographs.
For most cracks or chips in teeth, your dentist may suggest restoring them using dental bonding or placing a veneer on the tooth. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that cover the front side of a tooth and can be tinted to match its color. They usually require two visits-one for impressions and another for applying the veneer.
Dental bonding is used to treat teeth with fractures near the gum line, while a crown may be used for more severe fractures. It is often less expensive than placing a veneer, but the procedure usually requires two visits.
Root canal therapy is another option for teeth with cracks or chips near the gum line. If the fracture has caused nerve damage, it may be necessary to perform root canal therapy before restoring the tooth with a dental crown or veneer. However, it is good to ask your dentist the best technique for chipped tooth repair.
Prevention of Cracked Teeth
The best way to prevent cracked teeth is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing more than twice daily and flossing at least once a day can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth that causes cavities. These small holes in the enamel can contribute to tooth damage if not treated properly by your dentist.
Avoiding habits such as clenching or grinding of the teeth also helps prevent fractures. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can exacerbate damage to teeth caused by other factors such as improper tooth positioning or weakened roots. If you are experiencing this type of tooth pain, talk to your dentist about the possible causes and how you can stop doing it to prevent further problems.
Why Does a Cracked Tooth Hurt
A cracked tooth will usually become painful if there is nerve damage. The pain may escalate to the point that it becomes unbearable without treatment. People who have fractured teeth must visit their dentist or endodontist to examine and possible root canal therapy. Also, because the tooth is cracked, it may be more susceptible to additional damage that could threaten its survival.
How to Manage Pain from a Cracked Tooth
Like other types of tooth pain, you can manage the discomfort associated with a cracked tooth by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. However, these medications usually do not provide sufficient relief if there is nerve damage, and it’s important to see your dentist for a diagnosis and chipped tooth repair plan.
Go Straight to the Dentist
It may seem like common sense, but you should go straight to the dentist or endodontist when you experience tooth pain for chipped tooth repair. The reason is that fractures can lead to more serious problems such as infection or additional cracks that may need root canal therapy. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment quickly will go a long way in helping you get rid of your tooth pain for good.
Visit West Hollywood Dentist Today
Cracked tooth can become a serious problem if they are not treated properly. If you have a fracture near the gum line, you may require a dental crown or veneer to restore your tooth and prevent further damage. And if there is nerve damage from the chip in your tooth, root canal therapy will usually be necessary before finishing treatment with a dental crown or veneer.
It may be tempting to try and ignore your fractured tooth, but you should see your dentist as soon as possible, even if the pain is only mild. Don’t forget that there are several at-home procedures you can do to manage the discomfort associated with a cracked tooth until you can get an appointment. Call West Hollywood dentist or schedule a consultation meeting with us today by filling the online form for more information.