Do you have a tooth that is sensitive to hot and cold foods even though you have no signs of tooth enamel erosion? Do you experience a sharp pain when you bite or chew but have no visible signs of tooth decay? If so, you may have cracked tooth syndrome, a condition characterized by a small fracture, crack, or split in a tooth. These hairline cracks are often not visible on X-rays and extend into the dentin and sometimes the pulp, stimulating the tooth’s nerves and causing pain.
What causes cracked teeth?
We may blame hard foods such as popcorn and pretzels for causing a tooth crack, but those foods likely only accelerated a crack that was already forming due to other underlying problems. The most common causes of cracked tooth are:
- Bruxism. Repetitive clenching and grinding of the teeth puts your teeth under extreme pressure.
- Natural wear and tear. Teeth naturally wear down as you age.
- Bad habits. Chewing habits such as biting on your pen or your fingernails will cause undue pressure on your teeth.
- Large fillings. Extensive fillings, especially amalgam fillings, can expand over time and weaken your teeth, making them susceptible to cracks.
- Root canal. Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment are more vulnerable to fractures.
- Trauma. A blow to the face or jaw can crack a tooth.
What do I do if a tooth cracks?
If you have symptoms of a cracked tooth, including a sharp pain when biting or chewing or a sensitivity to hot and cold, call Dr. Denes immediately to set up an appointment. If a piece of your tooth breaks off, rinse your mouth with warm water and hold a cold compress to the outside of your mouth near the cracked tooth to reduce swelling until your dental appointment.
What are the treatments for a cracked tooth?
If a hairline crack is not treated, it can expand and cause your tooth to break. An untreated fracture can also extend into the tooth pulp and cause an infection, so see Dr. Denes as soon as you notice early signs of a cracked tooth. Depending on where the fracture is located, Dr. Denes will employ one of several treatments. If the crack is on a cusp, a filling may be placed. If it is on more than one cusp, a crown may be used to restore the tooth. If the crack has extended into the tooth pulp, you may need a root canal treatment before a crown is placed.
If you have signs of a cracked tooth, delaying treatment could lead to more extensive problems down the road, so call Drs. Alex and Claudia Denes today at (559) 297-1800 to schedule an appointment. Fresno Dental Studio happily treats patients from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.