How do you know if you have a cracked tooth? Well, in some cases, it may be as obvious as hearing an unpleasant “crack” when biting on something hard. However, it’s usually related to symptoms such as pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold or the release of biting pressure. And, the pain may come and go making it hard to determine which tooth is affected.
Symptoms may be more apparent when chewing because the motion can shift the cracked pieces, which can irritate the pulp inside your tooth. Then, when chewing stops and a bite releases, they can close and cause a sharp, intense pain. If left untreated, the pulp can become severely damaged and the tooth will be in constant pain, even when not eating. As well, the pulp can become infected and spread to surrounding bone and gums.
If you are experiencing tooth pain or discomfort don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at Higson Dental Group to book an appointment, we are always accepting new patients.
Types of Cracks
Craze lines are tiny, superficial cracks that affect the outer enamel and cause no real concern to the health of the tooth. They are common in adults.
Cusps are the hard, raised points that emerge from the biting surface of the tooth. If this area is weakened, they may fracture or break off. A fractured cusp usually does not impact the pulp of the tooth, so a root canal is not typically necessary and the tooth can be restored with a full crown.
This is when a crack extends from the chewing surface to the root or below the gum line. It’s very common for the pulp to become damaged, in which case the tooth will need a root canal. If left untreated, the tooth will worsen and likely result in the loss of the tooth. It’s important to be in tune with any kind of pain or discomfort, as early detection can make the difference between keeping or loosing a tooth.
If a cracked tooth is untreated, it can split even further into distinct segments. If it gets to this point, the tooth will not be able to remain intact. However, depending on the positioning of the crack, the dentist may be able to save and restore a portion of the tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture
When a fracture begins in the root and extends toward the chewing surface, it is called a vertical root fracture. This problem is hard to detect because there are few symptoms. When possible these fractures are treated with endodontic surgery to salvage a portion of the tooth, otherwise the entire tooth will need to be extracted.
The best thing to do if you feel any kind of pain or discomfort (even if it’s not ongoing!) is to book an appointment with our team at Higson Dental Group so we can have a closer look at the problem area. The sooner we can care for a cracked tooth, the better the chances of saving the tooth and preventing an infection.