Advances in dental technology have provided us the ablity to retain our natural teeth for a longer period of time. With time, our teeth are prone to cracking and fracturing due to trauma, clenching, grinding, or chewing and biting on hard foods.
Cracked teeth may not exhibit visible signs of damage, but can lead to a variety of symptoms such as:
- Pain while chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Sudden pain in the tooth without any cause
- Difficulty in locating the origin of tooth ache
- Increase in tooth mobility
Your dentist will provide treatment options for a cracked tooth depending upon the condition of the crack and your general dental health.
When you chew with a cracked tooth, the outer tissues that are damaged move, causing irritation in the pulp of the tooth. When the pressure is removed, the crack closes quickly causing a sharp, momentary pain. Repeated chewing could cause irreversible damage to the pulp. Extensive cracks may also lead to spread of the infection to the nearby bone and gum tissues.
TYPES OF CRACKED TEETH
These are tiny lines on the outer enamel and generally cause no pain and discomfort, apart from appearance issues.
OBLIQUE SUPRAGINGIVAL CRACKS
The cusp is the pointed part of a tooth’s chewing surface. When the cusp becomes weak and gets fractured, it either breaks off on its own or needs to be removed by a dentist. A cusp fracture will rarely damage the tooth pulp, so a root canal is not needed in most cases and the tooth can be repaired with a crown.
OBLIQUE SUBGINGIVAL CRACKS
These cracks go beyond the gum line, and often extend to the where the jawbone starts. When a piece breaks from such a crack, it generally remains attached to the tooth and needs to be removed by a dentist. Such cracks may need periodontal surgery to expose the crown followed by endodontic treatment to install restorations that repair the tooth.
OBLIQUE ROOT CRACKS
This type of crack causes damage below the gum line and jawbone. There is no appearance of the crack on the tooth surface. Although most cases of oblique root crack call for extraction, root canal treatment may be used to save the tooth, depending upon the closeness of the crack to the tooth surface.
VERTICAL APICAL ROOT CRACKS
These occur at the root tip and cause a lot of pain. Discomfort can be temporarily alleviated with root canal treatment, but the affected teeth will eventually need extraction.
VERTICAL FURCATION CRACKS
Vertical furcation cracks cause the roots of the tooth to separate and affect the nerve. Treatment is possible via root canal therapy followed by a crown restoration.
PREVENTING CRACKED TEETH
- Avoid chewing on hard foods and objects
- Do not grind or clench your teeth
- If you play contact sports or indulge in any activities that could cause tooth damage, use a dental mouthguard.
Early diagnosis of a cracked tooth is important to its treatment. If not treated in time, cracked teeth could cause infection and eventually lead to tooth loss.
Do you have cracks in your teeth? Or are you a player of contact sports and wish to avoid tooth cracks? Contact Papadakis and Gonzalez DDS in NYC for the best treatment for cracked and chipped teeth such as crowns, veneers and dental mouthguards. For appointments, call us at: (212) 689-7199.