Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Most tooth-cracked conditions affect only the hard tissues, especially the tooth enamel. However, sometimes this condition might affect the entire tooth including the root. It is hard to notice a cracked tooth syndrome and must be evaluated with a dentist as soon as possible. In most cases, the condition is noticed when one is biting or chewing food or when the tooth is exposed to extreme temperatures. You will experience a sharp pain, when chewing with a cracked tooth. If a cracked tooth exposes the tooth nerves, there will be increased sensitivity to change in temperatures, especially when drinking or eating extremely cold or hot drinks and food. It is advisable to visit your dentist as soon as possible, once you notice your tooth is cracked. If you leave the crack untreated, it can make the tooth more vulnerable to infections, bacteria and decay and the longer you wait the tooth may not be saved.
Many people don’t know that there is difference between a cracked tooth, broken tooth and chipped tooth. With chipped tooth only a small piece of tooth enamel have chipped off. When it comes to cracked tooth, the tooth split without breaking part. In fact, the tooth will still be whole, but you can see lines on the surface. There are several degrees of cracks such as craze line, split tooth, cracked tooth, and vertical root fracture. Slip tooth and vertical fracture being the most painful ones, and a bit difficult to treat. In case of broken tooth, a large piece of the tooth breaks either above the gum line or below the gum line. A broken tooth is one of the most traumatic tooth fractures.
What causes a cracked tooth syndrome?
Even though tooth enamel is the strongest body tissues, it can still crack. Actually, enamel is stronger than all the bones found in your body. There are several causes of cracked tooth syndrome such as;
- Chewing or biting non-food objects or hard objects such as unpopped popcorn and ice
- Using your teeth as tool (scissors, pliers, or bottle opener)
- Hard falls or a blow on the face
- Bad bite
- Old fillings that can’t support the tooth anymore
- Tooth erosion
- Underlying tooth decay
Who is more susceptible to cracked tooth syndrome?
If you have a habit of chewing or biting hard objects, you likely have cracked tooth. Some people use their tooth to open a drink or cut something. Using your teeth as pliers, scissors or bottle opener makes you more susceptible to cracked tooth syndrome. You need to practices good oral hygiene to avoid infections and tooth decay, which can lead to tooth crack.
In case, you notice a crack, you should visit your dentist to evaluate as soon as possible. If the crack is not fixed, it can extend to the interior parts of the tooth making it very hard to save to tooth. You don’t want your tooth to be extracted. Therefore, practice good oral hygiene, wear mouth guard during contact sports, avoid using your tooth as tool among other practices and you will be less susceptible to cracked tooth syndrome.
How do you treat a patient with a cracked tooth syndrome?
Were you chewing hard substance like ice or someone hit you on the face and the tooth cracked? You can restore the tooth and have your beautiful smile back. There several ways you can restore your cracked tooth. They include, dental fillings/bonding, veneers, dental crowns, root canal, and dental implants. The dentist will select the best restoration procedure depending on how severe the crack is.
- Dental fillings or bonding
If you have a minor crack, it can be fixed using tooth colored composite resin. The procedure is quite simple and no numbing is required. The dentist will select tooth colored composite resin with the same shade as your tooth. The dentist will roughen the surface of the tooth and apply a conditioning liquid to help the composite bond with the existing tooth. He will apply the composite and mould it. He will then shape and polish it to look like the surrounding teeth once it has dried. This procedure takes a few hours!
Porcelain veneers are the most common ones because they are more attractive and look like natural teeth. The first step is preparing the teeth. Sometimes a piece of the tooth has to be removed. Then an impression is taken to help in the creation of veneers that will resemble the existing teeth. Once the impressions are sent to the lab the veneers are created.
If the crack is severe, a dental crown can be the best restoration method. To start with, the tooth will have to be prepared. With crown you are likely to extract some tooth structure to create room for the crown. The dentist will then take the impressions and send to the lab for the creation of crown. In the meantime, temporary crown will have to be place on the prepared tooth as you wait for the crown to be ready. Once the crown is ready, it will be cemented on the affected tooth.
- Root Canal
This procedure is recommended when the crack has affected the pulp. A severe crack may extend to the pulp or the root of the tooth. Thus, root canal treatment will be necessary for the tooth to be restored. After the root canal treatment, you may have to place a crown to restore the tooth completely and prevent further damage.
With root canal procedure, one needs to take x-rays to determine if there is any infection. Next, the tooth is numbed and drilling take place to remove the pulp and nerve. To prevent further infection the tooth is sealed and a crown can be placed for strength and support.
- Dental Implant
Sometimes the tooth may have to be extracted, especially if the crack extends below the gum line. It becomes very hard to treat such a crack, and the only solution left is extracting the tooth. Having a dental implant is the best way to replace the extracted tooth.
What are the symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome?
Cracked tooth syndrome is a difficult condition to diagnose. Nevertheless, it comes with a number of symptoms such as:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Sharp pain when chewing or biting
- Swollen gum
- Pain that comes and goes