Private & NHS Dentists – Dental Practice Post House, Surrey

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Sometimes it can be difficult to know for sure if you are suffering from a cracked tooth. You may be experiencing some tooth pain but are unsure about the exact cause.

What are the symptoms of a cracked tooth?

A cracked tooth may not be visible to the human eye, so if you look closely at your teeth in a mirror you may not easily be able to spot one. There may be a hairline fracture that sits at the back of a tooth hidden from view, or it could be tucked away out of sight between your teeth.

There are some cracks that are more obvious, and you may be able to feel them with the tip of your tongue. Should you feel confident that you have a cracked tooth, then you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have it examined and treated.

Here are some symptoms that you should look out for if you suspect that you have one or more cracked-teeth:

  • Sharp, short-lived pain felt on and off whilst chewing food
  • Unexpected pain felt in the mouth for no obvious reason
  • You find it easier to chew on one side of the mouth
  • Your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold food or drink

Left untreated a cracked tooth can lead to further complications such as an infection developing inside the tooth, or tooth decay resulting in the loss of your tooth.

How do you get a cracked tooth?

There are many reasons why people experience cracked teeth. Some cracks can be more severe than others and this is why you should seek help from your dentist should you suspect you have one.

Reasons for cracked teeth can include:

  • Biting down on something very hard by mistake
  • Chewing boiled sweets and hard foods
  • A habit of clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Trauma to the tooth

Hidden cracks

Some tooth fractures can occur to the root of your tooth below the gum line. These types of cracks are more serious because they could affect the stability of the whole tooth.

Your dentist will be able to examine your teeth and investigate for cracks that are difficult to see and advise you on how best to manage it.

Different types of tooth cracks

Your dentist will also be able to establish what sort of crack your tooth has. This will affect how it should be treated. For example, you may have a crack that runs from the biting surface of a tooth that runs right down to the root. This can often mean that the soft inner tissue of the tooth could be damaged too.

Vertical root fractures are when a crack develops at the root and travels upwards towards the biting surface of your tooth.

You may notice that your teeth have craze lines across them. Craze lines are tiny cracks that only affect the surface enamel of the tooth. Craze lines are very common in adults and usually cause no pain and the cracks don’t affect the soft tooth filling. These types of cracks need no treatment.

A crack to the cusp is where the pointed edge of your tooth’s biting surface is damaged. This type of crack can weaken your tooth and be prone to break more easily. Cracked cusps will often give you pain when biting down on food.

If a cracked tooth is left untreated it could develop further into a split tooth. This is where the tooth will break and split into two parts.

Will I need to have dental treatment?

It is important that you see your dentist to have any dental pain assessed, and to locate and diagnose suspected cracks. Your dentist will be able to stop the tooth from degrading any further and prevent an infection that could lead to the death of the tooth nerve.

Your dentist can recommend an effective treatment to repair your cracked tooth if it can be saved such as bonding, cosmetic contouring, applying veneers or fitting crowns.

You may need to have root canal treatment or even a tooth removal if the damage is really severe. Your dentist may be able to save your tooth, so it is worth making an appointment as quickly as possible.