What is cracked tooth syndrome?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Some cracks in our teeth are too small to show up on an Xray, or the lie beneath the gums making them hard to diagnose. These minor cracks are often referred to as cracked tooth syndrome, and will most commonly affect molars and premolars, usually amongst people between the ages of 30 and 50.

Signs you may be experiencing cracked tooth syndrome
Minor cracks within the teeth can expose the dentine, and even the further inner pulp within the tooth itself. Because these areas are exposed, if you have cracked tooth syndrome you may experience high sensitivity to hot or cold foods on the affected tooth. This sensitivity can be a short and sharp stinging pain, that is isolated to only one tooth or area rather than the full mouth.

Another symptom of cracked tooth syndrome includes pain when chewing on the affected tooth. This may occur during or immediately after eating, and usually won’t be a constant pain, rather a short burst of stings or aches.
What causes cracked tooth syndrome Cracked tooth syndrome can be caused by a range of activities.

Common causes can include:

  • Teeth grinding or jaw clenching. This most commonly occurs when a person is sleeping, and may be unaware they are doing it.
  • As a result of dental treatment including large fillings and root canals. These procedures may weaken the affected tooth, leaving it more susceptible to minor cracks.
  • Misaligned teeth. If the teeth are not aligned while growing, this can cause added pressure on certain teeth that are growing in towards each other, resulting in a small crack.

How to treat cracked tooth syndrome

There are a variety of treatment options when it comes to cracked tooth syndrome, and your Dentist will recommend the right one depending on the severity of the particular crack.

Common treatment options can include bonding the tooth, or placing a crown on top of the affected tooth. In more severe cases, options can include performing a root canal, or complete extraction.

Early diagnosis has been proven to decrease the severity of the crack, offering quicker and easier treatment options. Unfortunately as these minor fractures do not come up on an X- ray, and may be hidden underneath the gums, they can be tricky to diagnose.

The best way to ensure quick and effective treatment is to keep an eye on any lingering symptoms that you might notice, and relay these to your Dentist. If you are experiencing short and sharp pains during or after eating, or if you are experiencing regular tooth sensitivity in one area of your mouth, it’s time to contact your dentist and check for cracked tooth syndrome!

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Dr Andrew Chan


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