It is very important to understand cracked tooth symptoms. Oral health plays a significant role in our cosmetic appearance. Statistically, more than 90% of people with oral disorders deal with self-esteem issues. We are talking about challenges such as crooked teeth, cavities, a cracked tooth, tooth decay, malocclusion and periodontal disease, to mention a few. This is because dental health generally has a great impact on one’s physical appearance. Even a minor cracked tooth can make you question your confidence. The state of general oral health and physical dental appearance affects one’s social life. Typically, the first details people notice when they approach us are our facial features, mostly our smile. Apart from cosmetic appearance, a compromised dental condition can lead to other health problems. In the United States alone, more than 60% of the residents visit dentists at least once a year for different dental procedures.
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What type of dental complication do you have?
The following piece of information will briefly discuss details associated with a cracked tooth. Following evidence-based dental reports, cracked teeth are the third-leading cause of teeth loss. A disturbing fact is that cracked teeth are becoming more common today than they were 10 decades ago. In conjunction with that, a recent study reveals that the number of cracked tooth visits escalated in 2020 and that COVID-19 may be the potential underlying problem. According to Dr Nicholas Davis of Newport Beach, the stress associated with COVID-19 led to adapted habits of clenching and bruxism in some people, thereby increasing the rate of fractured teeth. Some symptoms of a cracked tooth also go unnoticeable for a long time, which is one reason the dental condition is on the rise.
Tooth Fracture Causes
Why do teeth crack in half? There are a variety of reasons that lead to a cracked tooth.
In a study conducted to assess the prevalence of dental injuries associated with trauma, 85% of the 50 adult participants reported dental injuries associated with facial trauma. 26% of the injuries were chipped teeth, while 22% of the dental complications associated with a cracked tooth. The common causes of a cracked tooth concerning facial trauma include car accidents, sports-related injuries, falls, and physical assault. More so, a cracked front tooth was more challenging to treat compared to a cracked molar.
Tooth cavity is one of the most popular existing dental complications. Though most tooth cavities are treatable, some extents can lead to severe tooth damage. This is because a tooth cavity generally weakens the surfaces of teeth. While a cracked tooth does not necessarily mean that you have a cavity, a large tooth cavity is a potential cause of cracked teeth because the infection can affect the root canal and the surrounding connective tissues. What follows is a cracked tooth because the enamel is weak due to a lack of proper nutrients.
Chewing Hard Food
Our teeth are strong enough to chew hard food as they contain calcium and other nutrients that strengthen the hard outer shell and defends against erosion. However, this does not mean that it is healthy to chew hard food frequently. Biting hard edibles such as candy and ice is never recommendable as it weakens the enamel. Remember that the front teeth are thinner than other sets of teeth, therefore more vulnerable. You should cut crunchy food such as carrots and apples into tiny pieces before chewing. Also, keep in mind that our teeth have different levels of strength. Any food or object that is stronger than your teeth will cause fracturing with repeated biting.
Grinding and Clenching
Do you excessively grind your teeth either in your sleep or other circumstances? If yes, that may be one of the reasons you have a cracked tooth. Grinding may be one way you deal with stressful situations, but you must control the habit lest you want to end up with overly compromised dental health. Likewise, clenching your teeth is not advisable as it subjects your enamel to excess pressure. It leaves your teeth vulnerable to fracturing and other dental injuries. Orthodontic studies show that excessive grinding and clenching additionally puts you at risk of developing temporomandibular joint syndrome and facial complications.
Past dental procedures may also be the cause of a cracked tooth. While these procedures may be beneficial to your dental health, some procedures are abrasive; thus, they weaken the teeth. For instance, a root canal is a primary cause of fracturing of teeth as it involves removing the pulp hence depriving the tooth of enough blood supply. Due to the procedure, your root canal becomes weak and prone to cracking. Similarly, a dental filling that is too large makes your teeth weak thus more likely to fracture.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Poor dental hygiene is a general cause of a fractured tooth. The primary reason for taking care of your oral health is to prevent the development of bacteria and other potential infections. What happens when you do not care for your teeth? Poor oral hygiene leads to the growth of bacteria, which generally weakens your teeth. Poor oral hygiene is not only about skipping flossing and brushing your teeth. Using inappropriate dental cleaning also causes a tooth fracture. Many people think that using a toothbrush with hard bristles is the proper way to go, but that is not right. It only increases tooth sensitivity and injures the gums. Similarly, inappropriate flossing habits can cause cracked teeth.
How to Prevent a Cracked Tooth.
Avoid or Treat Bruxism
You ought to treat bruxism. It is not just a mere coping habit. Bruxism can become severe without proper treatment. Therefore, consult your dentist regarding the habit. Bruxism may be a consequence of various reasons, including stress, anxiety, crooked teeth, depression, certain medicines, lifestyle habits and sleep disorders. A dentist understands the symptoms of bruxism and initiates treatment based on the underlying factor.
Be Careful when Chewing Hard Food
Some crunchy foods are beneficial to our health, therefore making it impossible to avoid them completely. For example, carrots are important regarding the health of your eyes. It is advisable to cut crunchy food into bite-size pieces to ease chewing. This reduces the pressure exerted on your teeth.
Avoid Using Your Teeth as Tools
One common inappropriate dental habit is using teeth as bottle openers. Teeth are strong features, but that is not a reason to misuse them. As mentioned earlier, it can be challenging to notice that your teeth are starting to crack. Repeated use of your teeth as bottle openers will have you suffer severe consequences by the time you notice a visible crack. Similarly, it would be best if you stopped using your teeth as nail clippers or scissors. This will introduce bacteria into your teeth and possibly cause lacerated gums.
Protect Your Teeth
It is important that you wear a mouth guard or protective headgear while participating in sports. Being a sportsperson does not mean it is normal to have cracked or broken teeth. Assuming that you suffered facial trauma during an accident, seek medical advice to restore your dentition.
Practice Proper Dental Hygiene
This is the most obvious routine to prevent a fractured tooth. Brush and floss your teeth as required to avoid the build-up of bacteria. Also, use the right cleaning tools and creams to prevent abrasion and corrosion.
It is not wise took skip dental appointments. You do not have to be in pain or have an oral complication to see a dentist. Dental visits also confirm the absence of potential infections and other dental complications. It is better to prevent a potential hazard than treat it.
Types of Cracked Teeth
Typically, there are five types of a cracked tooth.
Concerning a split tooth, the crack travels from the crown to the root. Hence, the crack causes complete separation of two teeth segments. Usually, it is challenging to save split teeth, especially if they are front teeth. This is because front teeth are thin and have one root. However, saving the fractured tooth will depend on the severity of the condition. It is easier to save a cracked molar tooth due to multiple roots.
Craze lines do not affect the whole tooth. They appear like hairline cracks in teeth. Craze lines are thin striations on the enamel and do not extend into the dentin layer. Their primary cause is bruxism and shock. Craze lines are common in adults and do not pose any health threats. For that reason, they require no treatment.
A fractured cusp occurs when the surface of a chewing tooth breaks off. It occurs around a tooth filling. A fractured cusp is no alarm for emergency treatment. It does not cause pain as it does not affect the connective tissues surrounding the tooth. Dentists repair fractured cusps by replacing the chipped part with a new filling or covering the tooth with a crown.
Vertical Root Fracture
This is a vertical crack in tooth that begins in the root just below the gumline and travels towards the chewing surface. It takes time to show symptoms; therefore, it can go unnoticed for a long time. Pain associated with vertical root fracture only develops if an infection arises around the bones and tissues. The primary cause of vertical root fracture is a history of root canal procedure. This type of cracked tooth will require extraction of the whole tooth or a portion of the root.
See Also: Tooth Extraction Cost
This is the opposite of the vertical root fracture. The crack begins from the chewing surface and travels down to the root. However, it does not separate a tooth to complete different segments. Nonetheless, the condition requires early treatment as a severe condition can lead to losing a tooth. The best treatment for a cracked tooth is a root canal or a crown cover.
Most Important Cracked Tooth Symptoms
The following are symptoms to watch out for concerning fractured teeth.
- Tooth fracture causes sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
- You feel pain when chewing, at times, even with soft food.
- Sudden sensitivity to sweet and sour foods.
- You experience a constant toothache.
- Swollen and sore gums.
- Infection of the gums or the gum-line.
- Moving of teeth while chewing.
It is important to note that it is possible to confuse cracked teeth for other possible infections. Undeniably, several dental complications associate with the symptoms mentioned above—for instance, people with periodontal disease exhibit swollen, painful, and sensitive gums. Tooth sensitivity can be a consequence of gingivitis, gum recession, cavity decay, or simply a result of consuming acidic food. Thus, it can be difficult to distinguish cracked teeth from the other possible circumstances if there are no visible signs of a crack. As mentioned in other details, some cracks begin from the root or gum line and take time to proceed to the chewing surface. It is, therefore, crucial to consult a dentist before proceeding with other self-mediated solutions.
Diagnosis for Cracked Teeth
Diagnosing cracked teeth can be challenging but not impossible. The procedure requires visual observation through the use of magnifying objects to assess microscopic details. The procedure can be time-consuming as some cracks are difficult to access. For instance, if the crack is at the root or beneath the gum line, the patient will have to bite and release an object so that the physician can approximate the crack’s location. After that, the dentist will use microscopic dental wires to locate the crack by taking note of rough surfaces or edges. An x-ray examination might also help locate the crack by revealing the point of swelling or infection.
Treating Cracked Teeth: How to get rid of a Cracked Tooth
Broken tooth pain can be frustrating. What do you do if you have a cracked tooth? The popular methods concerning how to fix a cracked tooth include filling, bonding, capping, and crowning. Filling involves using a composite resin material to replace the portion of a chipped tooth. When it comes to bonding, the dentist uses tooth-coloured resin to fill the crack. Usually, the dentist will have to roughen the tooth surface, then adhere the tooth-coloured resin to it while using ultraviolet light as a hardening agent. Most importantly, remember to care for your teeth after treatment. A cracked crown or cap may be just as bad as a cracked tooth.
Cracked Tooth Complications
A cracked tooth should never remain untreated. It would be best to treat the condition as a medical emergency because a cracked tooth causes other severe oral complications. One of the consequences of untreated cracked teeth is the development of an abscess. This can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Tooth abscess causes the swelling of lymph nodes under your jaw or in your neck. Tooth decay, too, is a consequence of leaving fractured teeth untreated. The spaces in the cracks are conducive locations for the growth of bacteria. Can a broken tooth cause a fever? Yes, a cracked tooth causes infections, which are potential causes of fever. A fatal consequence is death caused by nerve damage.
Cost of Treating Cracked Teeth
Treatment costs for fractured teeth depend on the severity of your condition. Some conditions will require filling, others bonding, while others will need crowning. Other treatment options include root canal cracked tooth procedures and dental implants. Surgery is the best option for more severe cases. The average cost of tooth implants ranges from $2500 to $5000. Root canal therapy costs anything between $1000 and $1800. Dental fillings are the least expensive as they cost from $90 to $500 per tooth. The average cost of dental bonding is $800. Dental crowns can cost between $400 and $3000 per tooth.
Caring for your teeth is not only about improving cosmetic appearance but also maintaining good oral and general health. Fortunately, having cracked teeth is not a permanent condition. At Voss Dental, we dedicate our professionalism and skills to restoring your beautiful smile and protecting you from further health difficulties. With several years of cosmetic dentistry experience, we are a renowned and affordable dental care provider in Houston, Texas; ready to tackle all sorts of dental cosmetic procedures.