Talking cracked teeth

Experiencing pain from a tooth when chewing or biting, especially when you release the bite? Perhaps you are experiencing toothache that comes and goes, but is not continuous, or there is sensitivity to hot or cold, or sweet foods. These are some common symptoms of a cracked tooth, although not every cracked tooth will produce symptoms.

A cracked tooth is a tooth that has a split, fracture, craze or crack somewhere in the tooth and can be caused by a variety of factors, eg:

  • Loss of a significant portion of tooth — with weakened integrity of the tooth structure due to large fillings or wear.
  • Age is a factor — if you’re over 50 you probably have teeth previously repaired with silver amalgam fillings that lack the flex of the more modern composite filling.
  • Pressure from tooth grinding.
  • Chewing on hard objects or foods such as ice, nuts or hard lollies.
  • Accidents involving blows to the mouth, which could include a sporting injury, fall or car accident.

In some instances, it might be difficult to diagnose a cracked tooth and not everyone has typical symptoms. Your dentist will typically take a dental x-ray to determine the degree and location of the crack as well as complete a visual inspection of the tooth. Once determined and depending on the size and location of the crack, treatment may vary from filling to root canal treatment. A severely cracked tooth may require extraction.

If you have pain from a suspected cracked tooth, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and call your dentist.