What Causes Cracked Teeth & How Dentists Can Fix It
There are a variety of reasons that you could wind up with a cracked tooth and all of them can usually happen at any time – though one does tend to happen later in life. You are not alone if it does happen – many people in industrialized nations lose teeth to this.
It’s important to know what is behind it, what to look for, and how your Clearwater dentist or oral surgeon can wind up treating it. So read on to learn the causes, diagnosis and ways to treat a cracked tooth.
What Causes It?
There are several ways that you can cause a tooth to crack:
- You Grind Your Teeth: You might do this at night or even during the day. Eventually it can weaken the structure of your tooth and cause it to crack. You might need a mouthguard to wear at night.
- You Have Fillings That Are Too Large: A filling that constantly pushes around the teeth will eventually cause it to crack. You would need a crown, instead.
- You Bite or Chew Hard Foods or Ice – Yes, you love biting hard candy or ice. It makes such a satisfying crunch sound. Well, one sound you might hear is “Crack!”
- You Were Hit In The Mouth: You could have been hit in the mouth by a baseball, an errant elbow during a basketball game, a hockey puck …. or you could have just fallen flat on your face.
- You Changed The Temperature In Your Mouth Too Fast: If you swallow something too hot and try to cool it down by drinking something really cold, that could cause a cracked tooth.
- You Are Over 50 – Your teeth take a beating over the years and sometimes they just weaken due to your getting older. We said older, not old! 50 is still young.
What Are The Types of Cracked Teeth?
There are more than one type of cracked tooth. Your dentist may see:
- Craze Lines: These are tiny cracks in your enamel. Your dentist will take a watch-and-see approach with something like this.
- Fractured Cusp: If you have this, it usually happens around a filling and doesn’t hit the pulp of your tooth, which means that there will likely not be much pain.
- Cracks That Go Into The Gum Line: The likelihood that the dentist will be able to save your tooth increases if the crack stops at the gum line. If it goes into the gum line, it will likely have to be extracted. See the dentist quickly to improve your chances of having your tooth sved.
- Split Tooth: When this happens, you will have a tooth that has a crack that goes below the gum line. This will usually result in the dentist trying to save one half of the tooth, but not both sides.
- Vertical Root Fracture: This is one of those that tends to not show symptoms until the tooth becomes infected. It starts under the gum line and extends upward. If you have this, the tooth will almost always have to be extracted.
What Are The Symptoms?
These will differ from person to person and it depends on where the crack is on the tooth, but you should see a dentist if you:
- Feel Pain When Biting or Chewing, Especially After the Bite
- Feel Sensitivity to Heat, Cold, or Sweetness
- Feel Intermittent Pain
- Feel Swelling of Your Gums Around a Particular Tooth
How Can a Dentist Diagnose Cracked Teeth?
While an X-ray can show some things, they are not good for showing a cracked tooth. They could use it to see if your pulp is in bad health, which could signal a crack. Your dentist may do an oral inspection first to see if they spot anything and also use an instrument to see if it gets “caught” on anything. They will also ask if you do things like grind your teeth or have a lot of hard foods. Using dental dye to show the crack is a possibility. If your gums are inflamed, that might be a sign.
How Can They Fix It?
There are several options, and it depends on how big the crack is and what tooth is affected. They can bond it with a plastic resin, put a crown over it after a root canal, or extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant.
If you are worried that you have a cracked tooth, do not wait and hope it gets better. Bacteria can get in and cause problems with your root and pulp … and even get into your bloodstream. An infection can also cause a lot of issues. So contact your dentist at the first sign of discomfort. That way, the situation can be resolved quickly and any potential danger can be averted.
A cracked tooth is not the end of the world. You can still get a crown or a dental implant to keep your smile looking its very best.
Are you worried that you might have a cracked tooth? Come to the Dental Emergency Room. We help Clearwater residents and those in the surrounding area with their cracked teeth. Our staff will gladly help you from the minute that you come in. Soon, you will leave with the situation resolved. Contact us today!