You never expect to get a broken or cracked tooth. However, these situations are more common than you may think. According to a study by Hilton and Ferracan, which looked at 14,346 molars in 1,962 patients, 66.1 percent of patients had at least one cracked molar and 46.2 percent of patients had more than one cracked molar.
Whether your broken or cracked tooth is from injury or general wear and tear, it is important to find a dentist to examine the tooth and determine if treatment is necessary. In some cases, you may not know that you have a broken or cracked tooth as symptoms can be mild and difficult to pinpoint.
If you suspect that you may have a broken or cracked tooth, consider prompt treatment. Here’s a look at some common symptoms to look for and what type of treatment is usually recommended in this situation.
Symptoms of a Broken or Cracked Tooth
Any part of a tooth can break or become cracked. Sometimes the crack is visible while other times it can only be seen with a dental x-ray. Broken or cracked teeth do not always cause symptoms that can make them more difficult to diagnose. In addition, some cracks are harmless and do not require treatment. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be a sign that your tooth requires professional treatment.
- Pain when eating, particularly when biting or chewing
- Teeth that suddenly become sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet foods/drinks
- Swollen gums around the broken or cracked tooth
- Pain that comes and goes
- Discomfort around the tooth and gums that is difficult to pinpoint
What Causes a Broken or Cracked Tooth?
A tooth consists of two main parts: the crown that is visible above the gums and the root found below the gums. The crown and root both consist of several layers, including the enamel (hard white outer layer), dentin (middle layer), and the pulp (soft inner layer with nerves and blood vessels). Tooth cracks and breaks can affect one or multiple layers of a tooth.
Many things can cause a broken or cracked tooth, such as age. Most tooth cracks occur in people who are age 50 or older. However, a person can break or crack a tooth at any age. Certain habits, such as ice chewing and gum chewing, can also contribute to a tooth crack.
Oftentimes, teeth become cracked or broken when eating. Biting hard foods, such as ice, candy, or popcorn kernels, can put undue pressure on the surface of a tooth, causing it to crack. Teeth that contain large dental fillings or teeth that underwent a root canal are more likely to crack than healthy, untreated teeth.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or teeth clenching, can cause broken or cracked teeth. Some people grind or clench their teeth without knowing it, such as when they sleep. This grinding motion can put significant pressure on the teeth, resulting in cracks. Trauma can also cause broken or cracked teeth, such as sports injuries, falls, bicycle accidents, car accidents, and any type of physical violence.
How Are Broken or Cracked Teeth Repaired?
If your dentist determines that you have a broken or cracked tooth, treatment may be recommended to prevent the crack from getting worse. There are several treatment options available, such as:
- Bonding: A plastic resin material is used to fill in the crack.
- Crown: A ceramic or porcelain cap is fitted over the broken tooth.
- Root Canal: The damaged pulp is removed to prevent further weakening of the tooth.
- Veneer: A thin plastic or porcelain shell is placed over the front of the tooth to conceal the broken or cracked tooth.
- Extraction: An extraction may be recommended if the tooth is too damaged to repair.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist, Largo FL
Good dental health and wellness require teeth that are free of harmful breaks and cracks. If you suspect that you have a broken or cracked tooth, it’s important to have it evaluated by a professional. For more information about diagnosing and treating broken or cracked teeth, contact the friendly dental team at Bonham Dental Arts.