As we mentioned last week, sometimes cracks are too small to actually show up on an x-ray, but they are still creating discomfort and likely decay. In addition, sometimes the cracks that are occurring can be under the gum, further hiding the evidence but still providing the pain.

Cracked teeth most commonly occur in the lower back teeth such as your molars, as they take on most of the brunt of your chewing and clenching. In addition, if your teeth are misaligned, some teeth take on more pressure than other teeth, and these teeth can also be at risk for cracking.

A large filling can  also create an environment where your teeth could crack, as your own natural tooth will be unable to support the pressure of chewing. These teeth often are recommended for a crown or bridge, which is also the case for those teeth that have undergone a root canal.

Cracked Tooth Awareness

The simplest way to know if you have a cracked tooth is mostly based on pain or discomfort in normal chewing. It can be sharp and intense, or dull and short-lived caused by the regular consumption of food, or created by cold or hot food and beverages you consume. In either case, be aware of it.

As the crack increases, your tooth can break and create an infection around the gum of the cracked tooth. Often evidence of an infection is a pus-filled pimple on the gum near the tooth in question.

Keep in mind a constant toothache is likely a sign of a cavity or abscess, and can also be sensitive to cold and hot.

A cracked tooth is incredibly difficult to diagnose, and not all dentists can address such things. Sometimes you will be referred to an endodontist – someone that specializes in root canals.

Before this was to occur though, your dentist would make a full examination of your tooth, and explore around your mouth with certain dental instruments to uncover any cracks in your teeth. In addition, a bright light can be used along with a removable “stain” to physically be able to see the crack.

Treatment Options

Although treatment is available, unfortunately it doesn’t always alleviate the symptoms surrounding your cracked tooth. It all depends on where the crack has occurred, how deep the crack runs, and how large it is overall.

If the crack is towards the surface of the tooth, it can be corrected, and a crown will be used to fix the tooth. Deeper cracks will often require a root canal, and can alleviate pain such as sensitivity to cold and hot.

In worst-case scenarios, the tooth may need to be extracted if they are affecting your root in your jaw region. These types of cracks have no ways of being addressed, so extractions are the only option. However, this tooth can be replaced with an implant or a bridge.

Understanding your options is important, and having an open and candid discussion with one of our DentistsRUs dental professionals, is step #1 in addressing your questions and concerns. From there we can give you a better understanding of what to expect, and the success rate of such decisions …or refer you to an endodontist for further treatment options.

Burnaby Sedation & General Dentistry | 250 – 3433 North Rd. Burnaby, BC | 604.568.2211

Langley Sedation & General Dentistry | #103 – 19978 72nd Avenue Langley, BC | 604.514.6499

Tri-City Sedation & General Dentistry | #1412-2929 Barnet Hwy, Coquitlam, BC | 604.942.5222

Coast Meridian Sedation & General Dentistry | #103 3380 David Ave, Coquitlam, BC | 604.942.1110

New Westminster Sedation & General Dentistry | 243-800 Carnarvon St. New Westminster | 604.525.1116

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