Did you know that there are five kinds of cracks you could have in your teeth? The strange part is, you could go months without even knowing they exist!
They are hard to spot and complex to treat.
That’s why it’s super important to keep yourself educated on the causes, symptoms and treatment options available for a cracked tooth. And that’s exactly what we’re going to look into today.
So, let’s get crackin’!
Causes & Prevention: What Makes Your Teeth Crack?
The best way to prevent a cracked tooth is to read up on the causes. Have a gander at these and get inspired to develop healthier habits.
- Teeth grinding: The pressure from grinding your teeth can cause severe damage to your teeth. If you’re a grinder, work on breaking this habit!
- Large fillings: If you’ve gotten your teeth filled, your dentist must take steps to avoid compromising the integrity of the tooth.
- Untreated cavities: These can weaken your teeth, making them more susceptible to cracks.
- Contact sports: Make sure you are wearing protective gear while participating in high contact sports.
- Hard foods: If a food is too hard to bite into – don’t make a sport out of it. Move over to softer foods that are easier to consume and better for your teeth.
- Accidents and combat: When someone throws a punch at your face you are very likely to crack or even break your teeth. So when you can – use your words; avoid a fist-fight.
- Temperature: Exposing yourself to extreme temperatures is not good for your teeth. Try not to alternate between hot and cold foods during a meal.
- Age: Once you begin to get older, you’ll be more prone to cracks. Practice good oral hygiene to keep your teeth stronger for longer.
Symptoms: Signs You Should See a Dentist
A lot of the time, there simply are no symptoms to indicate a cracked tooth. However, when there are, they usually look something like this.
- Pain or discomfort: A recurring pain or ache in your tooth.
- Sensitivity: Discomfort due to cold or food or drinks.
- Swelling and inflammation: Swollen gums around the affected area.
Even if you do not have these symptoms, it is smart to make frequent visits to your dentist just to get a routine check-up. Most people find once in 6 months to be a nice balance.
Diagnosis: What to Expect at the Dental Clinic
X-rays can’t directly identify cracks, but you’ll find that your dentist might just use one!
Consider the tooth anatomy.
Your teeth are made up of an outer layer called enamel, a second layer called dentin and finally, pulp. Now dental pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves at the core of your tooth. When you bite and chew (and you have a crack), it can cause damage and irritation within the pulp.
This robs it of its ability to repair and heal itself. So, while X-rays can’t be used to identify fractures in teeth, they can identify a poor pulp situation, which is an indicator of a crack.
You may also be asked to eat something in order to stimulate pain caused by an affected tooth. This will help them narrow down the tooth. They are likely to examine your gums closely and monitor any redness, inflammation or swelling.
You will be asked questions. Be sure to answer them as accurately as you can. Give your dentist insight into your eating habits and foods you normally consume.
Be clear and communicate areas of pain or discomfort to help them track down the source.
They may also use a magnifying glass and other tools to examine your teeth. Cracks can often just be really tiny little lines that are hard to spot. Other equipment can trace your teeth for signs of friction, whereas dental dyes highlight faint cracks on the surface of your teeth.
Treatment: What Can You Do About a Cracked Tooth?
Cracks can take five forms, and treatment may vary accordingly. They can be, craze lines, fractured cusps, vertical cracks that reach your gums, splits or root fractures.
Now, depending on what it is you have, you will undergo one or more of the following, or even none at all! That’s right. If your cracks are so insignificant that they do not affect your eating or cause genuine discomfort, then you might be better off leaving them alone.
However, when cracks are more severe, here’s what you’re in for!
- Bonding: A bit of composite resin to fill in the cracks. Composite dental bonding is generally very cost-effective and significantly less painful and invasive as a procedure.
- Crown: A prosthetic device customized to fit over your teeth
- Root canal: This is used to counter extreme damage to the pulp by removing it and treating it.
- Extraction: Complete removal of the tooth to prevent infection.
- Endodontic surgery: Sometimes, a non-surgical root canal isn’t good enough. So a dentist may have to prescribe endodontic surgery instead. This is most common with vertical root fractures.
Is Complete Healing Possible?
Unfortunately, no. A cracked tooth is very different from a fractured bone, and can never truly heal. However, they can be treated and you will feel significantly better. The crack itself may never actually ‘heal’ in its true sense, but your life can definitely return back to normal.
Treating those cracks will alleviate your pain, help you return to comfortable chewing and prevent infections.
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