Cracked Tooth Syndrome

A dental condition that is occurring more often and is characterized by symptoms of sharp pain when chewing or biting down, is the cracked tooth syndrome.  Unfortunately for those suffering from this condition, their dentist may not be able to easily identify what is causing their dental pain because the cracks in their teeth are so small  they do not  show on  X-rays.

When a patient is suffering from cracked tooth syndrome, chewing can cause movement of the cracked piece of the tooth, thus resulting in a momentary, sharp pain.  Other symptoms include tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, and in extreme cases, signs of increased tooth mobility.

The causes of cracked tooth syndrome are thought to be the following:

  • Natural wear: People are living longer, thus keeping their teeth longer, and over time, teeth not only wear out, but are exposed to trauma, as well.
  • Clenching or grinding teeth, which puts teeth under excessive pressure thus making them more susceptible to cracks.
  • Trauma to the mouth
  • Large fillings
  • Untreated tooth decay
  • Bad chewing habits
  • Endodontic therapy complications

It is important for this condition to be identified and treated early, otherwise the damage incurred may place the tooth at risk.  When a crack reaches the pulp chamber, the pulp tissue can become exposed to bacteria and then become inflamed and develop an infection.  If left untreated, a cracked tooth can lead to the death of the nerve and tooth abscess, and the patient will then need to have a root canal performed.  In extreme cases, the cracked tooth will split in two and  when this occurs, tooth extraction is usually necessary.

Although the cracks in a tooth may be too small to be detected by X-rays, a dentist has other ways to determine which tooth is causing the patient pain.  A biting test will be performed to identify which tooth may be causing the pain. After this test, the dentist will then perform a thorough examination of the suspected tooth using a sharp instrument, an explorer, to feel for cracks on the tooth and also probe under the gums around the tooth to feel for any irregularities under the gum line.

This thorough examination will identify which tooth is causing  the cracked tooth syndrome, and your the dentist will then take the necessary steps to remedy this painful dental condition.

Original story can be found here.