Have you ever experienced pain or sensitivity in a tooth, only to have your dentist baffled as to why? Cracked teeth are incredibly hard to diagnose, They can be a source of pain or sensitivity for months until it finally is diagnosed. We’re going to go through the symptoms and causes for cracked teeth to help you identify if this might be the cause of your oral pain.
- sporadic pain that comes and goes
- sudden, sharp pain that disappears quickly
- pain while eating, especially hot or cold foods
- pain localized in a specific region of your mouth
Locating a cracked tooth can be very difficult. Sometimes cracks are too small to be seen, or may be hiding under the gumline or between teeth. Dentists diagnose a crack by visually examining your teeth, taking X-rays, and sometimes by using a bright light or dye. Your dentist will also use a metal instrument called an explorer to feel the surface of your teeth to check for irregularities. Often, diagnosing a tooth as a cracked tooth may be the final step in a long line of diagnostic tests that come back negative. Some cracks are simply too small to be seen, so if your symptoms suggest a crack and all other tests are negative, it is most likely that you have a tiny, hidden crack.
Teeth can crack for a variety of reasons. Injury to a tooth is one of the most common causes. Whether it is an acute accident, or the gnashing and grinding of your teeth as you sleep at night, slamming your teeth hard can cause tiny cracks to form. When you bite down again, the pressure of your teeth meeting can cause the crack to open slightly, exposing the nerve inside. Nerve pain is very painful, but generally goes away quickly as well. If your tooth hurts suddenly and sharply, but then fades quickly, a tiny crack is the most likely source of your pain.
Additionally, teeth that have already had extensive dental treatment are more likely to crack. Root canal treatments and very large fillings can compromise the integrity of the tooth, leading it to crack in the future. Occasionally teeth may crack as a direct result of root canal or filling treatments. Every person’s teeth are slightly different, which makes it impossible to predict how their teeth will react to a specific treatment.
Treatment of a cracked tooth varies widely based upon where and how severe it is. Cracks in the pulp of your tooth often require root canal treatment. About 20% of cracked teeth end up needing a root canal to alleviate the pain. Cracks that are closer to the surface, especially cracks on the chewing surface of your teeth are usually treated by covering the tooth with a crown.
If you’ve been living with dental pain, please make an appointment to come see us. We will do everything in our power to diagnose and treat your oral pain so you can get back to living your life fully. At West One Family Dental in Northeast Colorado Springs we take time to listen to our patients. Call us for an appointment at 719-633-8766.