Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when a tooth has a crack that’s too small to show up on X-rays, or is under the gum and challenging to identify. They occur most often on molars and premolars.
Most people experience cracked tooth syndrome as pain or discomfort when biting into food, or when teeth are exposed to hot or cold temperatures. The pain or discomfort won’t be constant, but short and sharp.
As with many conditions in the mouth, there’s no one reason for teeth to form cracks. However, some common causes include:
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- The way a person's teeth come together can put too much pressure on one tooth, causing the tooth to crack
- Large fillings, including root canal treatments, which weaken tooth structure
- Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment
Many people with cracked tooth syndrome have symptoms for months because it is one of the most difficult dental problems to diagnose. A complete oral examination, dental history (to exclude other causes), radiographs and the use of a fiber optic hand piece can assist in the detection of cracks. People with a history of a cracked tooth are more likely to have others, either at the same time or in the future.
There are several treatment options including filling to replace the cracked portion of tooth, placing a crown, performing a root canal treatment if the pulp of the tooth is damaged, or in severe cases extraction may be necessary. The type of treatment your dentist recommends will depend on the location and severity of the tooth fracture, so it is best to schedule an appointment as soon as you suspect that you may have a crack in your tooth.
There are several treatments options including bonding, placing a crown, performing a root canal or in severe cases extraction. The type of treatment your dentist recommends will depend on the location and severity of the tooth fracture, so it's best to schedule an appointment as soon as you suspect that you may have a crack in your tooth.
If the crack gets bigger, a piece of the tooth may break off. There is also an increased risk of developing an infection in the gum around the fractured tooth. You may notice a pimple-like bump on the gum near the tooth, which is an abscess. If you notice this, please see your dentist for an examination.
Teeth are remarkably strong, but they can chip, crack or break (fracture), which can cause nerve (pulp) damage and associated discomfort. Also, depending on the cause and extent of the cracked tooth, an adjacent filling or crown may be dislodged or lost completely.