What Causes Teeth to Crack?

A cracked tooth is serious. It doesn’t matter if you just discovered it or if it happened out of the blue, you need to have it addressed right away. This is because a cracked tooth will only become worse and worse. The crack will continue to split and, sooner or later, the tooth will completely break apart. This not only may ruin the tooth, but it can be especially painful when the nerve endings inside the tooth are exposed (don’t worry, this is where teeth savers come in).

With a chipped tooth, you likely will not sustain further damage (although you should still have it addressed), but a cracked tooth is something completely different. If you have suffered a crack, now is the time to visit your General Dentist. If you haven’t, and you want to know how to protect your teeth better, here is what causes teeth to crack and how you can avoid these issues.

Sports Injury

Sports injuries are one of the more common causes of cracked teeth. Basketball is one sport where dental injuries can occur without warning. You never know when an elbow might catch you in the mouth, just right. The same is true with soccer. Elbows and heads are flying around, and it only takes one time for someone to strike you in the mouth.

Football and youth hockey players don’t see as much of this because there is a helmet right in front of the mouth, and mouth guards are more common, but that isn’t to say it can’t happen. Maybe you’re warming up for a hockey game, slip on the ice, and fall face-first without wearing your helmet. Whatever the case may be, when it comes to what causes teeth to crack, sports injuries are high on the list.

It isn’t possible to 100% remove the chance of dental injuries. However, you can reduce the risk by wearing an adequately formed mouthguard. And if you chew on the mouth guard (it’s generally not a good idea, but it is something we’ve seen), make sure to replace the mouthguard with a new one to help maintain the integrity of the guard. It would be best if you also cleaned it. Otherwise, the mouthguard can get slightly funky, with bacteria clinging to it.

Chewing On Hard Items

So you popped popcorn, and some kernels didn’t “pop.” You’re still pretty sure you can eat it, so you bite down on the kernel. Something pops, but it wasn’t the kernel. It was your tooth. This has happened countless times. While popcorn kernels are up there as to what causes teeth to crack, really anything else that is hard can do it. It can also be from repetitive eating. Usually, it isn’t the last nut that causes your tooth to crack. It is continually trying to eat hard objects with your tooth. Eventually, all the stress applied to the tooth results in its cracking.

Clenched Teeth

If you clench your teeth, you probably already know about it. Generally, if you wake up and your jaw feels tired or sore, it is a good sign that you are clenching your teeth when you sleep. Some people also do this during the day. They might do it when they are stressed or mad. They may also do it just regularly and not realize it. Over time, the pressure applied to two teeth clenching down on one another can lead to a cracked tooth.

If you have noticed a sore jaw in the mornings, you need to schedule a dental appointment. You may need to wear a kind of night guard that will help prevent this. It would be best if you also were mindful of your jaw throughout the day. The best way to stop this practice is to identify when you’re doing it.

Other Dental Issues

Sometimes the biggest issue with one tooth is because there are issues with other teeth surrounding it. Maybe you recently lost a tooth and haven’t had it replaced. If this happens, your mouth will adjust, and the way you bite down may change. When you experience these changes, it can lead to misaligned teeth. As your teeth shift, the top row and bottom row will not come down as they should, which will lead to additional pressure applied to areas of the teeth not accustomed to the load. This, in turn, may lead to cracked teeth. Teeth that have large fillings are more likely to break as well because the interior of the tooth has been removed, so it may not be as structurally sound.

Outside of missing other teeth, it may only be from wear. Even if you have taken the best care of your teeth, this kind of thing can happen. Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about it. But if a crack does occur, you need to have it addressed quickly. Now, if you are not adequately taking care of your teeth, it may lead to tooth decay. This tooth decay will weaken your teeth. It may not directly crack your teeth, but it can indirectly lead to a tooth cracking because it is no longer as strong as it should be.

Make An Appointment With Your Dentist Today

If you’ve suffered a cracked tooth, it is critical to make an appointment with your general dentist as quickly as possible. Even if the cracked tooth doesn’t hurt, the sooner you have the damaged tooth addressed, the better off it will be. Once your dentist can assess the situation, they will be able to determine if you need to see a specialist, like ourselves, here at Ballantyne Endodontics.

Putting it off even a few days can result in further damage. Depending on the severity of the crack, you may end up losing the tooth, so having it treated sooner may be the only thing between saving the tooth or needing to replace it. Now that you know what causes teeth to crack, you can better prepare and protect your teeth. But if you have suffered a crack, have further questions, or are looking for a second opinion, make an appointment with your dentist today.