A cracked tooth can occur from a variety of causes. Some include:
• Grinding or clenching of teeth
• Uneven chewing pressure
• An accident, such as a blow to the mouth
• Tooth exposure to extreme hot or cold
• Chewing hard items such as ice or hard candy
• Teeth that have become brittle
A crack in teeth is often invisible to the eye and sometimes hard to detect in dental radiographs (x-rays). However, the pain typically occurs when you bite down and feel a sharp jolt of pain. This occurs because the pressure of biting causes the crack to open. When it opens, the interior of the tooth that hold nerves and blood vessels become irritated. Other symptoms include sensitivity to heat, cold, sweet, sour and sticky foods. When people have a cracked tooth, they tend to chew on the opposite side or avoid certain foods.
Repairing most cracks can be done through bonding or crowning the tooth. If the interior pulp has been damaged or become diseased as a result of the crack, a root canal will be necessary prior to crowning the tooth. A crack that extends below the gum line will require extraction.
Small cracks in teeth are not uncommon and typically do not cause problems. However, it is important to make us aware of oral symptoms you are experiencing that may indicate a problem. Like anything, tending to problems when they are small is much wiser (and less costly) than waiting until the problem becomes a major ordeal. The sooner the problem is repaired, the more likely it is you’ll avoid more extensive treatment in the future.