Your teeth may look fine on the outside, but your dentist knows that there’s more to a tooth than meets the eye. One common issue is cracked tooth syndrome. The syndrome refers to minute cracks that don’t appear on X-rays or may be hidden under your gums.
Many people won’t notice that they have cracked teeth, but you may notice some symptoms. These include pain when you bite something or chew food. A cavity is usually notable because it hurts constantly, but cracked teeth only hurt for short periods of time and may be sensitive to cold.
In some cases, cracks lead to fractures, where pieces of the tooth actually chip off. This can result in an infection, which may cause further problems. If you notice pimples, particularly ones that ooze pus, on your gums near the bottom of your teeth, you could have an infected fistula. See your dentist immediately.
How Your Teeth Crack
Most people with cracked tooth syndrome end up with cracked molars. The molars take the brunt of your chewing and are most likely to develop tiny cracks. If you clench your teeth or grind them, you are at higher risk for cracked tooth syndrome.
You are also at higher risk if you have had root canals or large cavities filled. When a tooth has most of its structure replaced, the enamel will be weaker and more likely to fracture. If you already have one cracked tooth, chances are high that you’ll have more soon.
Treating Cracked Tooth Syndrome
The first step in treating cracked teeth is to check for cracks. Make an appointment with a dentist.
The dentist will check for cracks that don’t show up on X-rays by testing your teeth. There are several tools that work well for this purpose. You may be asked to bite down on a special tool that will be pressed against your tooth. If you feel pain, that’s a good indication that the tooth is cracked.
Other methods of detecting nearly invisible lines in the teeth include using a bright light or dye. In some cases, previous dental work may need to be removed for better visibility.
If the crack is located on the higher points of the teeth, called the cusps, your dentist may use a crown or cap to fix the problem. In cases where the cracks are near the center of the tooth, affecting the nerves, you’ll need a root canal. Very bad cracks that run down to the root may result in the tooth being extracted.
If you have any pain when you chew or eat certain foods, you will need to see your dentist. It’s important to avoid letting the problem get any worse. The dentist can also help you prevent cracked tooth syndrome by preventing the grinding of teeth with a special mouth guard. Get professional help to stop the pain and keep your teeth healthy and safe.
Robert Anders is a dental hygienist with many years under his belt. When he has free time, he likes to help others by blogging online.