How do I know if my tooth is cracked?
Cracked teeth show a variety of symptoms, including erratic pain when chewing, possibly with a release of biting pressure, or pain when your tooth is exposed to temperature extremes. In many cases, the pain may come and go, and your dentist may have difficulty locating which tooth is causing the discomfort.
What are the types of cracks and how can they be treated?
- 1.Cracked tooth
a) The crack extends from the chewing surface vertically down towards the root but still above the gumline. Over time, the crack may spread deeper into the root. Early diagnosis is important in order to attempt to save the tooth. If the crack has extended into the pulp, the tooth may be treated with root canal treatment and crown to protect the tooth and prevent the crack from spreading.
- b) The crack extends below the gumline. This tooth is no longer treatable and will need to be extracted.
- 2. Split tooth. This is often the result of the progression of a cracked tooth. The fragments are distinct and can be separated and the tooth cannot be saved intact. The position and extent of the crack will determine if any portion of the tooth can be saved. Often, the split tooth is deemed untreatable and extraction is recommended.
- 3. Vertical root fracture. This type of crack begins at the tip of the root towards the chewing surface. Because the root is covered by gums and bone, such cracks commonly go unnoticed until signs and symptoms develop. Treatment may involve extraction of the tooth or endodontic surgery if the crack does not extend too far into the root.
After treatment, will my cracked tooth completely heal?
Unlike a broken bone, the fracture in a cracked tooth will not heal. In spite of treatment, some cracks may continue to progress and separate, resulting in loss of the tooth. Placement of a crown on a cracked tooth provides maximum protection but does not guarantee success.
Root canal treatment aims relieve pain and reduce the likelihood that the crack will worsen. Once treated, most cracked teeth continue to function and provide years of comfortable chewing.
How can I prevent my teeth from cracking?
While cracked teeth are not completely preventable, you can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracks:
- 1. Avoid chewing on hard objects such as ice or pens.
- 2. Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth.
- 3. If you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep, consider getting a retainer or other mouthguard to protect your teeth.
- 4. Wear a mouthguard or protective mask when playing contact sports.