If you’re like a lot of individuals, you’ve likely had a cracked tooth at some time in your life, maybe without even knowing it. As you age, your teeth can start having little cracks or lines on the surface. While these might seem concerning, in many cases, they’re simply what we refer to as “craze lines.”
Craze lines are cracks in your tooth enamel, typically on the superficial outer tooth layer. They usually develop with normal wear and tear over time. They’re not usually serious unless they penetrate your tooth’s inner surface known as dentin. If you look at your teeth closely in a mirror and see small, vertical lines, don’t become worried yet. If you’re not experiencing any pain or other symptoms, chances are, it won’t require treatment. However, there are situations where cracked teeth do need treatment.
Symptoms of Cracked Teeth
Some individuals will require treatment for a cracked tooth. Symptoms of cracked teeth indicating you need cracked teeth repair are:
- Pain when you bite or chew, particularly when you release your bite
- Sporadic pain that’s rarely continuous
- Sensitivity to cold, heat or sweetness
- Gum swelling around the impacted tooth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, give us a call here at Kemper Meadow Family Dentistry so our doctors can evaluate and treat your cracked teeth.
Causes of a Cracked Tooth
Causes of a cracked tooth include:
- Large fillings that weaken your tooth’s integrity
- Teeth grinding pressure
- Mouth blows like what could occur with a sports injury, car accident or fistfight
- Biting or chew hard foods like nuts, ice or hard candy
- Abrupt temperature changes in your mouth, for example, from eating food that’s very hot and then attempting to use ice water to cool your mouth
- Your age, teeth cracks mostly occur in individuals over 50
Treatment for Cracked Teeth
First, our dentist has to diagnose the problem. We’ll likely:
- Ask you about your oral history, like if you grind your teeth or chew on hard food often
- Perform a visual exam. We might have to use a magnifying lens in order to see tiny cracks.
- Use a dental dye for making the crack stand out.
- Feel for the crack. We might run a dental explorer around and over your tooth to see if it “catches”.
- Probe your gums to check for inflammation. This can be particularly helpful to help us identify vertical cracks that can irritate your gums.
- Ask you to bite down on something to see if you feel pain after releasing your bite.
- X-ray your teeth. X-rays don’t necessarily show the cracks, but they could show poor pulp health which could mean you have a crack.
We can treat your cracked tooth in various ways, depending on what type of crack it is and how severe the damage is. The length of treatment time could vary as well. For instance, if you have a small chip on your enamel, we can typically repair it quickly in one office visit, whereas if your tooth is broken, it might require a longer treatment time.
Some types of treatment for a cracked tooth are:
- Enamel shaping
- Dental filling or bonding
- Dental caps or crowns
- Dental veneers
Tips for Preventing Cracked Teeth
Since cracked tooth treatments can be a little costly with dental insurance coverage, prevention is key. Good prevention tips to avoid cracked teeth are:
- Wear a mouthguard to help protect your teeth when playing sports.
- Use a nightguard if you grind your teeth when sleeping.
- Avoid eating sticky or hard foods.
- Avoid opening open things using your teeth.
- Avoid chewing on non-food objects such as a pencil or pen and always practice great oral hygiene.
Your treatment for a cracked tooth is essential since it can help relieve your pain and decrease your chances of the crack becoming worse. Most cracked teeth, after treatment, continue functioning properly and provide years of comfortable biting and chewing.
If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, you should set up an appointment with our dentist for a complete dental exam. If we do indeed see a crack and decide you require treatment, we’ll sit down with you to discuss your treatment options so you can decide which is the best choice for your individual needs.
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