Signs of a cracked tooth
- Sharp pain on biting, (especially on release or opening) that quickly disappears.
- Usually on a molar or premolar (back teeth)
- Spontaneous pain
- Pain while eating or drinking
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food or drinks
- Some cracks may be asymptomatic
- A cracked tooth may not be visible to the eye or on an x-ray.
Causes of a Cracked Tooth
- You can cause a tooth to crack by chewing on foods such as ice, nuts, or hard candy.
- For e.g. as a blow to the mouth may cause a tooth to crack.
- Clenching and grinding your teeth often causes teeth to crack.
- Brittle teeth that have had a root canal may crack easily.
- Loss of tooth structure through wear, large fillings, or other restorations may cause a tooth to crack. This is especially true for older amalgam (silver) fillings, as they have a tendency to expand and shrink over time, resulting in flexure of the remaining tooth structure which cracks.
- Uneven chewing pressure from missing teeth or imperfections in the way teeth bite together. For e.g. High fillings or mal-aligned teeth
Treatment for a Cracked Tooth
Treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the size and location of the crack and your symptoms. These include:
- Sometimes no treatment is recommended if the crack is small and not causing the patient any pain.
- Reducing the height of the tooth or filling slightly or placing a metal band around the tooth if diagnosis is uncertain.
- Repairing the tooth with a filling material and reducing the height of the remaining tooth to protect it.
- Placing a crown, or onlay on the tooth to protect the tooth from further damage
- Root canal treatment if the nerves and pulp are involved
- Extraction of the tooth if the crack is severe and the tooth cannot be saved.
The best treatment is to have a suspected cracked tooth checked by your dentist as early as possible.