There’s nothing more shocking than sitting down to a delicious meal or snack and experiencing a sharp pain after taking your first bite. Sudden tooth pain that occurs while chewing could actually be caused by a hidden crack in your tooth. Cracked tooth syndrome –– also known as split tooth syndrome –– is a painful condition that occurs as a result of a crack in your tooth that you may not be able to see. Cracked tooth syndrome can range anywhere from a small hairline crack in the crown of the tooth to a fracture that reaches all the way to the root. If you believe you have a cracked tooth, it’s important to visit your dentist right away so he or she can assess your tooth and create a treatment plan for the repair of cracked tooth syndrome.
If you’ve ever wondered how a repair of cracked tooth syndrome comes together, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about what causes cracked tooth syndrome, treatments for cracked teeth, and how you can prevent cracked teeth.
Causes of Cracked Tooth Syndrome
As you age, your teeth might develop small lines or cracks on the surface called craze lines. These lines are usually limited to the outer enamel of the teeth, but they sometimes result in small fractures beneath the tooth’s surface that are too small to even be seen on x-ray.
Fractures can also happen below the tooth’s gum line, making it even harder to identify. There are a number of things that can cause your teeth to crack, but it’s usually a result of one of the following:
- Oral or facial trauma
- Chewing hard foods like ice, hard candy, or nuts
- Grinding your teeth
- Worn down or damaged tooth restoration
- Damage from an unsuccessful root canal
- Bite misalignment that can cause uneven chewing pressure
If you suspect a cracked tooth, it’s important to contact your dentist to schedule a visit as soon as possible. If left untreated, the crack could reach the pulp of the tooth and allow bacteria to enter, creating a perfect environment for an infection and inflammation.
An untreated cracked tooth can result in the death of the tooth nerve, known as pulpal necrosis, and tooth abscess, which requires root canal treatment. In severe cases, the crack can cause the tooth to split in two, reducing the chances to save the natural tooth and usually resulting in tooth extraction.
Symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome
The biggest indicator of cracked tooth syndrome is experiencing tooth pain while eating or chewing. That’s because the crack exposes the inside of the tooth that has very small fluid filled tubes leading to the nerve, or pulp, of the tooth. The chewing motion opens the crack and causes movement of the fluid within the tubes. When you let the biting pressure off, the crack closes and the fluid pressure stimulates the nerve and causes pain.
While the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome will vary depending on the type of tooth fracture, below are a few of the most common signs of this disorder:
- Sharp pain when biting down in a certain area
- Pain that eases when the pressure has been removed
- Localized sensitivity to temperatures, sticky foods, or sugary foods
- You remember biting down on something hard or thinking you heard a crack even if you can’t visibly see one
Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to prevent cracked tooth syndrome. Genetics play a role, but you can make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of tooth fractures. Try to stop bad habits like grinding your teeth at night or clenching your teeth during stressful moments of the day. Avoid chewing hard objects and stick to eating foods that are easier on your teeth.
Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we make it our mission to preserve our patients’ natural teeth and relieve their pain. If you have a cracked tooth, contact us today to schedule an evaluation and learn how we can create a plan in the repair of cracked tooth syndrome. With offices located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, convenient care is just a phone call away!