Did you know that tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body? It’s like diamonds! But even your enamel can eventually suffer from wear and tear after years of grinding and chewing.
If you have cracked teeth, Charlotte, NC is home to Ballantyne Endodontics, where we’ll be happy to assist you.
Do I have a cracked tooth?
It can be tough to tell if you have a cracked tooth just from looking at it in the mirror. The crack isn’t always visible (by the natural eye or even imaging), and the symptoms they cause can vary—even come and go. This is why cracks are the most difficult diagnosis to reach in dentistry and can be a challenge for your dentist and for you—because of the discomfort you may feel!
Here are a few symptoms you can look for, but ultimately you should receive an official diagnosis from your endodontist or dentist.
If you have a cracked tooth, you may experience pain while chewing. That’s because chewing can cause the pieces of a cracked tooth to move, which irritates the pulp. When biting pressure is released, the crack in the tooth can close quickly, causing sharp pain.
You might also experience temperature sensitivity when you have a cracked tooth.
Eventually, the pulp will become damaged (because that crack becomes a doorway for bacteria to sneak in), and the tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing or biting down. You’ll need treatment in order to feel better.
Our concern isn’t just your pain. Cracked teeth can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum. In addition, if you don’t treat a cracked tooth swiftly, it can lead to losing your tooth altogether. That’s why it’s important to diagnose and treat cracked teeth as quickly as possible.
These are the types of cracked teeth.
There are multiple types of cracked teeth, and your symptoms and treatment will depend on what type you are experiencing.
Craze lines are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are more common in adults. Good news is that craze lines are superficial, and they rarely require treatment.
A cusp is a raised portion of a tooth’s crown that helps you chew your food. When a cusp is weakened over time, it can fracture. The cusp may break off, or be removed by a dentist.
A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so a root canal may not be necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.
This type of crack extends vertically from the tooth’s chewing surface of the tooth towards the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line or even further into the root. Damage to the pulp is common with this type of crack, and usually requires root canal therapy.
If left untreated, this type of crack will worsen and will eventually result in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is essential. Make sure you don’t put off making an appointment. We promise, the pain you’re experiencing is worse than the root canal itself. You’ll feel so much better when it’s done!
A split tooth is a cracked tooth with distinct segments. It is often the result of an untreated cracked tooth, and unfortunately can never be saved intact.
However, sometimes endodontists can save a portion of the tooth with endodontic treatment and dental restoration. The position and extent of the crack will determine whether any portion of the tooth can be saved.
Please make your appointment to see if we can help save a portion of your original tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture
A vertical root fracture is a crack that begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, these can be tricky cases to catch early because they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed for some time.
Sometimes a portion of the tooth can be saved by removing the fractured root. In this case, the tooth can be treated with endodontic surgery. Otherwise, the tooth will need to be extracted.
When you come to Ballantyne Endodontics for your consultation, we can guide you in the right direction.