A cracked tooth can cause tooth pain and sensitivity. And if you experience pain every time you chew or put pressure on a tooth, a tooth crack may be the cause.
What Is a Cracked Tooth?
A cracked tooth is a tooth with a dental fracture. Cracked teeth can irritate your dental pulp, which is composed of tissues, nerves, and blood vessels within the root canal. While you chew, the cracked pieces of your tooth can move and close.
If a crack is not treated, it can cause infection. Bacteria can spread through the crack and into your dental pulp. Then, from the cracked tooth, infection can spread to your surrounding teeth and gum tissue.
Types of Cracks
There are multiple types of dental cracks that each come with their own set of concerns. These include:
- Superficial: Most cracks are too small to affect anything except the outer enamel. In these instances, the crack isn’t a real threat to your health, and it can be repaired with cosmetic dentistry.
- Fractured Cusps: A crack in a cusp (a tip on the chewing surface) is more painful than a superficial crack, but it rarely affects the tooth pulp. This can often be repaired by removing the cusp and replacing it with a dental crown.
- Cracked Teeth: The types of cracked teeth our endodontic team treats are teeth with major cracks extending from the crown to the root of the tooth. These cracks affect the tooth pulp and can cause serious damage if left untreated. Over time, a cracked tooth can become a split tooth.
- Split Tooth: A split occurs when a major tooth crack extends beyond the surface area of the tooth into the tooth root. When a tooth has split, it is impossible to save and will have to be extracted.
- Vertical Root Fractures: A tooth with a vertical root fracture has a crack that starts in the tooth root and extends upwards toward the surface. Because vertical root fractures are below the tooth surface, they can go undetected for a long time. Generally, when a vertical root fracture is discovered, endodontic therapy will have to be performed or the tooth may need to be extracted.
Our skilled endodontist knows what it takes to fix each type of crack. We’ll help find the treatment that is right for you.
Signs and Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
You may quickly sense a cracked tooth through pain, which can feel similar to a cavity or exposed tooth root. You may feel it:
- Periodically while you chew food or drink.
- While consuming very hot or cold foods or drinks.
- Immediately after releasing the force of a bite.
- While chewing hard foods or gum.
If a tooth hurts only sometimes, you may be unsure of the cause. You should contact your dentist or endodontist for a checkup. Don’t let a potential crack go untreated, because it could become infected.
Some cracks that do not affect the pulp of the tooth may not cause pain. However, you might see the damage as:
- A line of darker enamel (tooth surface material).
- A spot where tooth enamel has chipped off.
- A tooth discoloration.
- A transparent part of the enamel.
Cracks are not always obviously visible, and you might not feel every crack. Protect yourself by visiting your dental professional when you suspect a tooth crack, see it, or feel it. Prevent it from developing and widening.
Receive Cracked Tooth Therapy From Surf City Endodontics
At Surf City Endodontics, we can treat your cracked teeth and help you avoid tooth loss and serious health issues. By treating the problem early, we can preserve your tooth root and help you enjoy a lasting, beautiful smile. Call us today to set up an appointment.