Have you experienced a sharp pain when you bite down on a certain tooth? Does the pain disappear shortly afterwards? Do you avoid certain foods to chew on or use the other side of your mouth when eating? If all this sounds familiar, you may have what is commonly referred to as cracked tooth.
A cracked tooth hurts because the pressure of biting causes the crack to open. When you stop biting, the pressure is released and a sharp pain results as the crack quickly closes.
Even though the crack may be microscopic and may not show on an x-ray, when it opens, it sends a sharp pain down to the nerve tissues of the tooth (pulp). The pulp contains the tooth’s nerves and blood supply. If the crack irritates the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to temperature extremes. If the pulp becomes damaged or diseased root canal treatment may be necessary to save the tooth.
Treatment of cracked tooth
Simple Crack: The majority of cracked teeth (about 80%) can be treated by placement of a simple crown (cap) on the tooth. The crown helps to compress the crack and often times after preparation and crown placement the pain usually disappears. We leave a temporary crown on for 4-6 weeks just to be sure the tooth has healed. If this is the case with your tooth, we will place the final crown without a problem on your next appointment. The pain from the cracked tooth is now solved.
Complex Crack: Occasionally, (about 20%) the tooth cracks into the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. If pain persists after placement of temporary crown, you may have a crack that extends into this tender area of the affected tooth. This tooth may require root canal treatment . Usually most of the symptoms disappear and after treatment, a crown is then placed. In the rare occasions the symptoms do not subside, (less than 2%), the crack has extended down into the roots of the tooth, and the tooth cannot be saved. Regular dental checkups are important. They allow problems to be diagnosed and treated in the early stages. We are accepting new patients, so call our office today to schedule your new patient consultation!