Teeth are incredibly strong, but they are not indestructible. Cracked teeth are a common occurrence in dentistry. Diagnosing a cracked tooth and developing an appropriate treatment plan to preserve the tooth, when possible, and ensure its longevity are critical to helping dental patients maintain their natural smile.
There are several reasons why a tooth may crack. Often, a tooth will crack if its structural integrity has already been compromised by previous trauma or invasive dental treatment. For instance, an tooth with a large filling is more prone to cracking. Grinding your teeth at night also increases the wear and tear on your teeth, increasing the chances that one may crack. Eating hard foods, such as ice or hard candy, can cause a weakened tooth to literally crack under pressure.
Some of the most common symptoms of a cracked tooth include:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Pain when chewing
- Spontaneous shooting pain
- Excessive pain when eating sour or sweet foods
There are many different types of cracked teeth. The treatment and outcome for your tooth depend on the type, location, and extent of the crack. In some situations, the crack in the tooth is not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen on a dental x-ray. But whether the dentist can see the crack or not, dental x-rays must be taken to examine the exact degree and location of the crack.
For minor cracks, your general dentist will be able to treat the tooth by removing the weakened area and place a filling in the tooth. For more severe cracks, your dentist may refer you for treatment by an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists specially-trained in saving diseased, damaged, or decaying teeth. If there is more than one cusp compromised, you might need a crown. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend a root canal due to the pulp of the tooth becoming damaged through the crack.
There are a number of ways to prevent cracking in teeth, such as avoiding hard foods and wearing a mouthguard while playing sports. Taking proper care of your teeth and going to the dentist for regular visits will help your keep your teeth healthy and in good shape. However, accidents do happen. In which case, if you are experiencing the symptoms of a cracked tooth, contact your dentist right away. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of a cracked tooth is essential for preventing further damage and perhaps the loss of the tooth entirely.
If you are suffering from a cracked tooth or multiple cracked teeth, schedule your appointment with New York City Endodontics today.