Why Do Cracked Teeth Hurt?
To understand why cracked teeth hurt, it helps to know the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, is the inner soft tissue called pulp. The pulp contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.
When the outer hard tissues of the tooth are cracked, chewing can cause flexing of the tooth, and the pulp can become irritated. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged to the point that it can no longer heal itself. The tooth will not only hurt when chewing but may also become sensitive to temperature extremes.
Extensive cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the tooth.
Cracked teeth show a variety of symptoms, including erratic pain when chewing, possibly with release of biting pressure, or pain when your tooth is exposed to temperature extremes (hot or cold). In many cases, the pain may come and go.
Repairing and treating cracked and broken teeth: investigate and act early
It is wise to act early at the first sign or symptom of a potential crack in the tooth. If a filling is already present, this filling will need to be removed to investigate the crack underneath the filling.
In most cases, a crown is necessary to stabilize the crack in the tooth. If however, the nerve is involved then root canal treatment will be required as well.
This is why treating cracks in teeth at the earliest possible time, is the often the best approach. So if you think your have a broken or cracked tooth, then please come and see us at Albany Place Dental Practice.
What if my tooth is chipped?
Chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Most chipped teeth can be repaired either by reattaching the broken piece of tooth enamel or by bonding a tooth-colored filling or crown in place. See the dentists at Albany Place Dental Practice as soon as possible after the injury to treat your chipped tooth and keep it from worsening.
After treatment for a cracked tooth, will my tooth completely heal?
Unlike a broken bone, the fracture in a cracked tooth will not heal. In spite of treatment, some cracks may continue to progress and separate, resulting in loss of the tooth. Placement of a crown on a cracked tooth provides maximum protection but does not guarantee success in all cases.
The treatment you receive for your cracked tooth is important because it will relieve pain and reduce the likelihood that the crack will worsen. Once treated, most cracked teeth continue to function and provide years of comfortable chewing.
What can I do to prevent my teeth from cracking?
While cracked teeth are not completely preventable, you can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracks.
- Don’t chew on hard objects such as ice, unpopped popcorn kernels or pens.
- Don’t clench or grind your teeth.
- If you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep, talk to your dentist about getting a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
- Wear a mouthguard or protective mask when playing contact sports.