Do you have a problem with grinding your teeth?
A good one third of the population has a problem with clenching and grinding of their teeth.
Human teeth are subjected to enormous forces in the mouth and as a result cracking teeth is unavoidable, especially as we age. Cracked teeth are painful and can occasionally cause loss of the tooth.
To understand the various types of cracks and appreciate the variations in treatment options, a basic understanding of the tooth anatomy will be helpful
Cracks in enamel only are generally asymptomatic and require no real treatment. Almost all adults have cracks in the enamel of teeth. These are caused by eating hard foods, biting accidents, contact sports and aging. Some preventative measures include softening hard foods before biting into them and avoiding hard and brittle foods like peanut brittle, corn nuts and chewing ice.
Cracks in dentin cause sharp pain when biting especially when there is contact on the cracked portion of tooth. Contact with sweets also causes lingering pain. Cracks in dentin above the gum line are easily corrected by removing the cracked portion of tooth and placing a crown covering the tooth including the cracked defect.
Cracks in dentin extending below the gum line require a surgical modification of the surrounding bone away from the fracture line and a subsequent placement of crown. This combination of treatment can become questionable if crack extends deep down into the root surface, especially when exact extent of crack cannot be determined. Tooth removal and replacement with implant or bridge can be an alternative.
Cracks into pulp can be very painful and usually need immediate attention. Conservative treatment options are of limited value and generally involve removal of tooth and replacement with a bridge, implant or removable prosthesis. Sometimes, a root canal therapy is performed and root temporarily restored and observed for several weeks and if asymptomatic, restored with a more permanent crown. If pain persists, an extraction becomes necessary.
Only superficial cracks can be left with no treatment. Most cracked teeth require treatment as soon as pain is experienced. Early treatment can mean less invasive and less expensive treatment.
Contact Anita Tao, DDS for cracked tooth treatment and repair in Hacienda Heights, CA.