Are you finding that it has become difficult to eat or drink food that is very hot or very cold? Do you avoid biting down on one side of your mouth to chew due to a painful tooth? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions, you may have a cracked tooth.

The pain of a cracked tooth is caused by the hard outer layers of the tooth moving against the delicate nerves and blood vessels within the pulp. If the crack reaches into the pulp of your tooth, any hot or cold food or beverage can seep into the crack and cause severe pain.

How do I know if my tooth is cracked?

What makes detecting cracked teeth more difficult is the fact that some cracks can’t be found by X-ray. The pain from the tooth may also come and go, making you think that your tooth has gotten better, when it hasn’t. If the cracked tooth goes long enough without being treated, an infection can spread into your gums and underlying bones and lead to much more serious issues.

If it hurts to bite down on one side, or if it hurts to eat and drink hot or cold food and beverages, the nerves of your teeth may be exposed by a crack. Though most of the time it isn’t possible to see cracks with the naked eye, sometimes you can see the crack running through your tooth.

What causes cracked teeth in the first place?

Cracked teeth can be caused by cavities, trauma to the teeth, chewing on hard things like ice, and clenching or grinding your teeth. Trying to open things with your teeth can also cause serious damage.

How do you treat a cracked tooth?

Treatment really depends on the severity of the crack.

Small Cracks: Most smaller cracks can be treated with a filling, but larger will require a crown.

Moderate Cracks: A root canal must be performed and a crown must be placed.

Severe Cracks: The tooth is unsalvageable and must be extracted and replaced with an implant, a bridge, or a partial denture.

What can I do to prevent cracking a tooth?

Though some dental accidents simply can’t be helped, there are many ways to help prevent cracked teeth. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, make sure you wear a mouthguard that is properly fitted by one of our dentists. It’s also important to wear a mouthguard during all contact sports to prevent broken teeth.

While it’s sometimes difficult to avoid eating harder food, you can help prevent cracked teeth by using caution when eating harder foods and avoid chewing on ice or opening things with your teeth. And if you do notice a tiny crack in your tooth, don’t ignore it! Early detection is incredibly helpful because the crack can be stopped with a crown or a small filling.

During your regular twice-yearly visits to Southtowns Dental, our dedicated dentists will thoroughly check your teeth for any kind of damage, including cracks. Because we take a conservative approach to treatment, we’ll only give you the treatment you need – nothing more. We have invested in the latest dental technology to make sure your treatment is efficient and you are as comfortable as possible.

If you or a family member think you have a cracked tooth, don’t hesitate to call Southtowns Dental and schedule an appointment!