Teeth are highly resilient to damage and can hold up to daily biting and chewing. However, too much force, such as a fall or a blow to the mouth, can cause a tooth to become cracked or fractured. Some teeth are more susceptible to cracks, such as those with large dental fillings, root canal treatment, or a history of tooth decay. If you crack a tooth, it may be visually noticeable or it may be discovered by an x-ray or an exam by your Melbourne, Florida dentist. In either case, it is important to diagnose the severity of the crack and determine the best course of treatment.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
It can sometimes be hard to distinguish a break from other common dental problems, such as a cavity or loose filling. There are some red flags to look for that could indicate a break in your tooth, such as the following:
- Tooth pain when chewing or biting – If you experience pain or discomfort when chewing or biting down, it could indicate a tooth crack. Sometimes tooth cracks only cause pain when you bite down in a certain way or eat certain foods.
- Sporadic pain – Tooth fractures, abscesses, cavities, and similar dental issues are known to cause chronic pain. However, the discomfort caused by a cracked tooth is usually sporadic.
- Increased sensitivity – It is common to experience sensitivity in a tooth that has a crack. In addition to hot and cold sensitivity, some people may experience sensitivity to sweet, sticky, or sour foods.
- Gum infection – If a cracked tooth is not promptly treated, it can lead to an infection in the gum line surrounding the fracture. Infections generally appear as a small bump on the gum line near the affected tooth.
- Lack of visible signs – Unlike tooth decay and similar dental issues, it is not always easy to spot a cracked tooth. Cracked teeth do not always appear with a visible crack. This can make it difficult to make a diagnosis without the help of your dentist.
Top Causes of a Cracked Tooth
Not sure what caused your cracked tooth? Tooth cracks often occur unexpectedly and for a wide range of reasons. Biting down on something hard, such as a crunchy vegetable or hard candy, is a common cause of tooth cracks. You can also crack a tooth by chewing on items that you shouldn’t chew on. Items such as pen caps, ice cubes, or unpopped popcorn kernels can easily damage teeth.
Certain types of oral jewelry, such as cheek and tongue piercings, can lead to a cracked tooth. If you hit the jewelry hard against your teeth or accidentally bite down on the jewelry, it may cause damage to your enamel. Using your teeth as tools to open packages or bite your nails can also contribute to weakened teeth that may crack.
Another cause of tooth cracks that is commonly overlooked is teeth grinding. When you sleep, you may grind your teeth without knowing it. Grinding on a regular basis can wear down the enamel and dentin layers of your teeth, making them more susceptible to cracks.
Treatment Options for Cracked Teeth
If your dentist discovers a break in your tooth, she will recommend a treatment based on the extent of the damage and the location of the crack. Some cracks are tiny and may cause no discomfort. In these cases, no treatment may be necessary.
If a tooth crack does cause symptoms, your dentist may recommend a filling or a repair of the crack. They will use a plastic resin, a treatment known as bonding. In more severe cases, a crown may be placed on the tooth to help protect it from further damage. Cracks that penetrate the pulp of the teeth may require root canal treatment or a tooth extraction.
Schedule an Appointment Today for Dental Teeth Treatment and Oral Health
Are you experiencing symptoms of a cracked tooth? Contact the experienced team at Artistic Touch Dentistry. Learn more about our treatment options or schedule an appointment with your trusted Melbourne, Florida dentist.