Because we live longer and more stressful lives today, we are exposing our teeth to many more years of potentially damaging habits such as clenching, grinding, and chewing on hard objects.
These habits make our teeth more susceptible to cracks. Your endodontist may treat a cracked tooth to prevent further damage to the tooth structure and tissue.
Cracked teeth do not always show asigns of damage, but may present a variety of symptoms, including erratic pain when you chew with them, and pain or sensitivity to heat and cold. In many cases, the pain may come and go, making it difficult for your doctor to locate the source.
Firmly anchored in your jaw and protected by an out coating of tough enamel, your teeth are remarkably strong - however they can still chip, crack and even break. There is research being done now about why our teeth seem to be cracking more than in years past. Current theories is that we are living longer and our teeth are exposed to more stress over an increasing amount of time.
Biting on hard objects, being hit with something in the mouth or having large cavities (or old amalgam fillings) that weaken the tooth's structure are also common causes of tooth fractures. There are a number of symptoms that indicate a tooth may be cracked, and several treatments we can offer, depending on the severity of the injury.
Small chips on the edges or cusps of teeth may not cause any symptoms. These can easily be treated by cosmetic bonding or other mehtods.Severly fractured teeth however, may be a serious issue and the earlier it is treated, the higher the chances of saving the tooth.
MINOR CRACKS (Craze Lines)
You may not even know if you have a craze line. Most of the time they don't even require treatment. Tooth pain is always an indicator that you need to have it checked out by a dentist. We want to avoid the crack going into the enamel. These cracks are in fact so small that often they won't even show up on X-rays. They can only be discovered using an instrument called an explorer, a bite stick, special dye stains or high-magnification instruments.
These cracks typically begin at the chewing surface and extend toward the roots. Sometimes they will go in the opposite direction. Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may experience only minimal discomfort due to changes in temperature such as hot or cold drinks. It may also cause a sharp pain when you chew. Do not ignore these symptoms because dental treatment is needed as soon as possible as the crack will most likely continue to progress eventually to the point where an extraction is needed.
DEEP FRACTURES or SPLIT TEETH
If you happen to experience a deep fracture, you'll know right away. The primary parts of the tooth can be separated from each other.This needs to be treated immediately. Our Issaquah location will always see you in an emergency situation like this but if we are closed, please seek attention elsewhere.
TREATMENT FOR CRACKED TEETH
The type of crack in the tooth dictates the best treatment. If we catch a small crack early on, we will most likely be able to seal the fissure with restorative materials. Larger cracks may need a root canal. If the crack is severe enough, we may have to extract the tooth. It's scarier than it sounds. We perform hundreds of extractions a year and are highly experienced in the placing of implants.
Obviously, it's better to not crack a tooth in the first place. Always wear protective equipment when possible such as a mouthguard for sports. Regular dental checkups will help catch small cracks early on. If you're still reading this and haven't had an appointment in a while, let's get you scheduled.