If you’re experiencing pain or sensitivity in one or more of your teeth but don’t know where the pain is coming from, a condition called cracked tooth syndrome may be to blame. All it takes is one small crack to experience a host of dental emergencies or issues relating to your oral health.
Luckily, a quick trip to the dentist can usually bring you some relief, and get to the root of the problem. Our dental professionals share what you need to know about cracked tooth syndrome.
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What Is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?
According to dental health experts, cracked tooth syndrome (CTS)1 is caused by small fractures in your teeth. They can range from one or two tiny cracks that can’t be seen with the naked eye, or you may have severe fractures that have spread right down to the tooth’s nerve. Even minor fractures can quickly worsen and cause the tooth to break completely.
This issue can occur from biting down on hard foods, exposing your teeth to drastic changes in temperature, or just general wear and tear. You’re more prone to problems if you grind your teeth regularly or clench your jaw at night while you sleep. Proper oral health care can make a big difference in your risk of developing cracked tooth syndrome.
What Are the Causes of Cracked Teeth?
Teeth usually get cracks on the front and rear sides, though it’s possible to develop cracks and fractures on the top or sides as well. There are some common causes of cracked teeth that can sometimes even result in a dental emergency. These include:
- Excessively Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw – A lot of people do this when they’re sleeping and may not even know it’s occurring. Stress can increase your risk of grinding your teeth or clenching. This condition is called bruxism.
- Hard Foods – If you’re often munching on hard foods like popcorn kernels, hard candy, or even ice, this can lead to weak spots on your teeth that can crack.
- Natural Aging Process – As we age, the integrity of our teeth can decrease. It’s common for older people to experience cracked teeth. You can prevent this with proper oral care at home and by seeing a dentist regularly for checkups.
- An Accident – Impact to your teeth in an accident, such as a car crash, can cause your teeth to crack.
- Extreme Temperatures – Exposing your teeth to one extreme temperature and immediately following with the opposite temperature can cause small cracks. For example, you eat a cold popsicle and then change to a hot cup of tea or coffee.
- Wearing Down of a Dental Filling – At some point in your life, you may need a large dental filling. Over time, that filling can wear down and lead to your tooth structure weakening.
What Are Common Cracked Tooth Symptoms?
While you might be someone who has a small crack in your tooth and don’t even know it’s there, many people experience some degree of symptoms. This can include:
- Severe toothache when you bite down on something
- Extreme sensitivity to hot, cold, sugary, or salty foods
- Random shooting pain in one specific spot
- Swelling in the gums around the affected tooth
Any of these issues should be checked out by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent complications or infection.
Have a toothache? You may have a cracked tooth. Make an appointment with Absolute Dental today!
What Are Treatments for a Cracked Tooth?
The types of treatment that your dentist may recommend are determined by the severity of the crack. Some of the most commonly used treatments include:
Bonding material can address minor issues when applied over the crack. It mimics the natural surface of your tooth to look and function like normal.
For cracks or fractures that don’t affect the tooth’s pulp or nerves, the dentist may choose to shave some of the tooth down and place a filling to repair the damaged tooth.
If the crack extends into the tooth’s pulp and is infected or is likely to become infected, your dentist may perform a root canal to save the tooth and prevent further weakening.
A dental crown fits over the top of the tooth to protect it without having to remove the tooth entirely. They are usually made of porcelain or ceramic and resemble the look and color of real teeth.
When the crack extends below the gumline, it’s often too late to save the tooth. If the crack gets to this point, it’s usually best to extract the tooth to prevent infection or further damage. This is why early detection and treatment of a cracked tooth is so crucial.
What Are Tips to Prevent a Cracked Tooth?
Regularly attending a routine dental appointment can ensure that your teeth are healthy and free of cracks that you may not even know are there. Your dentist may recommend tips to help you avoid cracks in your teeth, including:
- Be careful when chewing hard foods.
- Avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages or bottles.
- Get treatment for your bruxism (teeth grinding).
- Wear a mouthguard during contact sports or potentially dangerous activities.
- Consider orthodontic treatment for dental misalignments.
- Prioritize preventative dental healthcare.
At home, make sure you’re flossing and brushing regularly to prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Healthy teeth are strong teeth, so you want to make sure you take care of them to prevent cracks.
Is There a Dental Clinic Near Me?
Developing a good oral healthcare routine at home is vital to preventing cracked tooth syndrome. However, it’s also essential to work with a trusted dentist in your area.
Contact Absolute Dental if you want more information on routine dental care or assistance with cracked tooth pain and repair. We have locations across Nevada with dental professionals ready to help you get your smile back on track.
1Cleveland Clinic. (4 June 2021). Fractured Tooth (Cracked Tooth). Retrieved 12 April 2022.