Teeth crack to varying degrees and can appear as an obvious break, a pain when pressure is applied to the tooth or sensitivity to cold and/or sweet things.
VARIATIONS OF CRACKED TEETH
- CRACKED TOOTH – cracks appear on the visible part of the tooth and can run deeper into the central part of the tooth. This is usually a painful condition
- CRAZE LINES – these are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. They are fairly common in adult teeth and do not require any treatment
- CRACKED CUSP – this can vary from a sharp pain on biting or from the corner part of the tooth breaking off. The cusp is the pointed part of the back teeth.
- SPLIT TOOTH – this can be the result of an untreated cracked tooth. The tooth is cracked down the root and has to be extracted.
SYMPTOMS OF CRACKED TEETH
The symptoms are variable. Frequently there is pain to cold, hot and sweet things and also a pain when biting or chewing.
It can be difficult to locate a crack but your dentist will use a few tests to try and pinpoint the offending tooth.
CAUSES OF CRACKED TEETH
- Hard foods like nuts, seeds and inadvertent stones are amongst the most common culprits for causing teeth to crack.
- Individual habits frequent chewing of gum or holding e.g. screws or hair clips between your teeth are also common causes.
- Night grinding
- Trauma to your chin or lower jaw
- Large fillings due to previous need to treatment.
- Severe gum disease can cause bone loss that can make the teeth more likely to suffer from fractures as they are not well supported in the jaw.
It is important to seek advice when you first feel symptoms of a crack. If there is a filling in the suspected cracked tooth then the first stage is usually to remove that and temporarily dress the tooth with a temporary filling. The dentist will try to assess how deep the crack is running. If the symptoms suggest that the pulp of the tooth has been affected then root treatment may be started to alleviate pain.
If cracks are left untreated the tooth may become very painful, abscess or split down the middle. The latter will require to be extracted.
PREVENTION OF CRACKS
It is not always possible to prevent teeth from cracking but if you have a habit that contributes to the problem, it is best to stop.
A nightguard can be manufactured to protect your teeth from night grinding.
Sports mouthguards can be made to protect your teeth from injury which can result in damaging your teeth.
Avoidance of hard foods and care when eating certain foods which may have stones – for example, olives and cherries.