- from Dr. Tim Jernberg
Cracked teeth can result in a variety of symptoms, from no noticeable pain at all to severe pain when chewing and sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures. Severely cracked teeth can result in a severe, constant pain that has sent patients to the emergency room. Cracked teeth can show up in a variety of ways and the extent of the crack will determine the best treatment. Oftentimes, a crown will provide the best protection against migration or worsening of cracks. In cases where pain is associated with a crack, root canal therapy may be needed as well. In severe splits or teeth with cracks below the gum line, tooth removal and replacement may be the best option. For these reasons, it is very important that any pain with chewing or temperature be addressed by your dentist. While cracks can result from normal wear and tear, they are typically more common in patients with larger fillings, patients who chew on hard food such as popcorn and ice, or patients who grind their teeth. Early diagnosis is important and can be difficult due to crack location, so regular dental checkups are key to successfully treating cracked teeth.
- from Dr. Tim Jernberg
Cracked teeth are very common. Even though teeth are the hardest substance in the body, they can fracture at any age and at any time. Fractures are all caused by some sort of trauma; either it can be a quick blow to the front teeth or long-term wear and tear to the back ones. They can be painful or have no discomfort at all.
The most typical cracked tooth that we see in the office is the back molar that usually has had some sort of large amalgam (silver) filling placed several years ago. There is no bond between the amalgam filling and the tooth, so as we chew on the tooth the force pushes against the cusps surrounding the filling, flexing them and then cracking them on the inside. They are still attached on the outside so everything appears as normal. Unfortunately, most of the time this situation causes discomfort when chewing certain foods giving a sensation of anywhere from just feeling un-solid to a little zing to severe pain. The tooth usually is sensitive to cold and sometimes heat as the nerve inside the tooth becomes hypersensitive from the constant stimulation and a reaction to the bacteria that are "pumped" into the interior portion of the tooth along the fracture lines. Sometimes these sensations can go away for a while only to come back, usually with even more severe symptoms.
If the tooth is not fixed promptly this can lead to fracturing the cusp off entirely or an abscessed tooth due to the excess bacteria. Sometimes the fracture extends down on the root causing a vertical root fracture which is a hopeless situation leading to the loss of the tooth.
Fortunately we can fix these if we catch them in time. After diagnosis of a cracked tooth, a restoration can be placed to cover up this cracked portion and reseal the tooth, keeping the bacteria out. Usually this is some sort of crown or "cap" which will surround the tooth, keeping it from flexing and giving the nerve inside a chance to settle down. This may happen immediately or it can take a few weeks. Sometimes the nerve has been infected too long, which can lead it to die or an abscess giving the feeling of a throbbing, constant ache or spontaneous pain. In this case usually a root canal can then be done to save the tooth from extraction.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with your tooth, contact us immediately at 345-7786 so we can evaluate it and treat accordingly.
- from Dr. Clause
Commerce Drive Dental team members all contribute to this blog, including our dentists, assistants, hygienists, and business team personnel.