Why do teeth crack?
In an adult there are 32 teeth in the mouth and each have its own function. The front teeth are used for cutting food and the back are for mashing up the food. Teeth start to crack or breakdown when these functions are altered. There numerous causes of crack teeth and it can be broken down into broad areas including 1. Bruxism- this is where the patient grinds their teeth together. This can be subconsciously during the night time when patient is not aware of the damage they are making to their teeth. Some of the signs and symptom of a patient grinding their teeth during the night time are sore jaw in the morning and extreme headaches. This constant pressure on the teeth causes stress fractures which will lead to crack teeth, fallen fillings and sensitive teeth. The range of treatment for Bruxism are occlusal night guards, Botox and complex rehabilitation of the teeth bite system.
- Trauma. Sometime teeth can be accidentally knocked and the effects can range from small hair line fractures to major tooth/ root fractures.
- Heavily restored teeth.
Teeth that have old amalgam that has been in place for over a decade have a high risk of fractures. When they where first put in dentist often incorporate retention slots to hold these restorations in. Unfortunately, these amalgams under constant use will either weaken the enamel wall or dislodge itself. Large composite restorations can also be inheritedly weak and can break under constant load.
Crack tooth syndrome
When a patient experience pain on a tooth when eating it can be due to a crack tooth. At Amazing Smiles the dentist can diagnose this complex pain with a few test which they can utilise. One of these test is a bite/crack finder test. The patient is made to bite on a plastic Crack finder. When offending tooth has a crack the patient will feel a sharp pain on release of the bite.
How do we treat a crack tooth?
This all varies on how much damage the tooth has sustained, how much tooth structure is present and whether the nerve is damaged. If the damage is only at tooth level often the dentist would suggest protecting the tooth with a crown. A crown is a hard outer shell that is made from porcelain, gold or zirconia.
If the crack has propagated deeper into the tooth and has caused more throbbing pain then it is best treated by taking out the nerve and doing root canal therapy.