If you’re over the age of 40 or prone to grinding your teeth, you are more likely to experience cracks in your teeth. A cracked tooth can range from a minor crack that is barely visible to a severe fracture from the tooth surface right down through the gum line. Your tooth may have been injured in an accident or simply from biting down hard on ice, nuts, or candy.
How Do You Know if it is a Cracked Tooth?
Since a cracked tooth may not be visible to you, you may not realize that you have one until you begin to experience pain that comes and goes, and discomfort around the tooth itself and surrounding gums. You may be experiencing pain when chewing, as well as increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods. What to do? Leaving it untreated could lead to even more problems. You should make an appointment to see your dentist for a complete diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
Types of Cracked Teeth
The types of cracked teeth can vary however there are five main classifications:
Craze lines are super small cracks in the enamel. They cause no pain and need no treatment.
A fractured cusp is a crack around a dental filling. It usually does not cause much pain.
Cracks that extend into the gum line. In this case, the tooth would have likely need to be extracted through prompt treatment may save the tooth.
A tooth may be a cracked from the surface to below the gum line resulting in a split tooth. It’s unlikely the tooth can be saved, but a portion may be.
Vertical Root Fracture
This type of fracture begins below the gum line and travels upward. You may not experience many symptoms, unless the tooth becomes infected. The tooth would have to be extracted.
Unlike bone, cracks in teeth will never heal. Treatment may include bonding to fill the crack and restore strength to the tooth. Crowns are often added to fit over the damaged tooth and protect it. If the crack is extensive and extends into the pulp, a root canal will be considered. In the most severe cracks, tooth extraction is the advisable course of action. The best scenario is hairline cracks that don’t affect appearance and cause no pain, since nothing needs to be done.
The best way to prevent cracked teeth is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. The more decay, and fillings you have, the weaker your teeth will become and become susceptible to cracking and breakage. Avoid overly hard foods, such as hard nuts and candy.
If you have a tendency to grind your teeth, wear a mouth guard at night so that you put less pressure on your teeth.
Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself with a cracked tooth. Your pain may come and go, but the longer you wait to seek treatment from your dentist, the more chances that serious complications may arise.