Cracked Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Individuals often suffer from a range of dental diseases and disorders due to poor dental health practices. Among such disorders is cracked teeth including cracked molar and broken molar cusp, which may result from teeth grinding and chewing on hard foods. It may also occur as one gets older and is also a leading cause of tooth loss. While dentists can repair most of the cracks, they may never heal fully as a broken bone would. However, dentists advise that prompt diagnosis and treatment give the best chances of saving cracked teeth. Such diagnosis and treatment plans help prevent infections and further damage to a tooth. As such, it is important to know the common cause, symptoms, and possible treatments for cracked teeth.
Causes of Cracked Teeth
While there are various reasons to why a tooth might crack, here are the main ones:
• Enormous pressure that results from extreme teeth grinding causing fractured cusp molar
• Biting or chewing on hard foods, such as ice, meat bones, hard candy, and nuts causing broken cusp molar
• Blows to the jaws and teeth through car accidents, fistfights, or sports injury
• Gum disease, which may involve bone loss, may also cause root fractures in teeth.
• Sudden changes in mouth temperature, which is caused by alternating extremely cold and hot foods or drinks at an instance.
• Age factor – adults over 50 years are more likely to suffer cracked teeth.
• Extra-large fillings that may also result in a cracked molar
Symptoms of Cracked Teeth
Imagine chewing on an apple, only to feel something hard in the mouth. You’ll almost freeze on noticing that it is a broken tooth, and such this could probably be the basic manifestation of a broken tooth. While some of these conditions don’t produce symptoms, some common ones include:
• Pain when biting and chewing, especially on releasing the bite
• Swelling of the gum area holding the cracked molar
• Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
• Pain on the cracked teeth that keeps coming and going
Types of Cracked Tooth
Teeth do not crack in the same way. So, what are some of the ways in which teeth may crack? Here are some of those:
• Craze lines: cracking of teeth may occur as super-small cracks in the tooth’s enamel. They are painless and often don’t require any treatment.
• Split tooth: cracks may run from the surface of the tooth towards the root. This condition may even go below the gum line into the root of the tooth.
• Fractured cusp: this type of crack is common around dental fillings. Fractured cusp molar pain isn’t common since this crack does not affect the pulp of the tooth.
• Vertical root fracture: it’s a crack that begins below the gumline and extends upward. This type of crack doesn’t show much in symptoms unless an infection arises. In such cases, tooth extraction may be necessary.
Diagnosis of Cracked Teeth
Cracked teeth have different symptoms for different people, and not everyone has its typical symptoms. As such, dentists will do any of the following in the process of diagnosis of a cracked tooth:
• Find out the patient’s dental history and dental practices. This way, they can find out the reasons for a cracked tooth, such as teeth grinding and chewing on hard foods. Doing this helps dentists find the remedy to that broken cusp molar pain.
• Visual examination: Dentists may also have to use a magnifying glass to identify any tiny cracks on teeth.
• Dental dyes are also commonly used for the identification of cracks.
• Dentists also use dental explorers in the detection of cracks. They run these over and around a tooth to feel whether there is a crack on the tooth.
• Vertical cracks can also be identified by probing the gums for inflammation, which helps reduce gum irritation.
• X-rays are also common forms of diagnosis, but they don’t necessarily reveal cracks on teeth. However, they are effective at revealing poor pulp health, which is attributed to teeth cracks.
• Dentists may also diagnose cracked teeth by having a patient bite down on something. This way, they suspect a tooth crack if one complains of pain after releasing.
Treatment of Cracked Teeth
General dentists and endodontists recommend various forms of treatment for a cracked tooth. Some of these may be basic while some could be extensive depending on the degree of damage. Here are some ways of broken molar repair or fractured cusp molar treatment:
Bonding: It is a procedure through which dentists use plastic resin to fill cracks. This procedure, therefore, comes in handy in broken cusp repair and also helps restore the function and look of teeth.
Dental Crowns: These are used by dentists to fit over the structure that is left of a cracked tooth. They are made of porcelain or ceramic and basically cap the tooth. Before fitting the crown, dentists shave off part of the enamel to create room for the crown. The fitting of dental crowns starts with the preparation of a crown in a dental lab. Once this is done, fitting and cementing the crown over the broken cusp molar tooth follows. This remedy for cracked teeth can last a lifetime if done proper care is taken.
Veneers: These are used to offers solution for fairly cracked teeth. They are wafer-thin shells made of porcelain used to cover the front surface of teeth. As such, they are effective at correcting craze lines and improving teeth appearance.
Root Canal: this is a procedure that helps rectify extensive tooth damage. It is, therefore, an effective broken molar repair procedure. Endodontists, therefore, recommend canal procedures for individuals with a split tooth condition, particularly cracked molar teeth, as it helps remove damaged pulp tissue. This way, the function and integrity of the tooth are restored, and further infection of the tooth is prevented.
Tooth Extraction: when the structure and the pulp of the tooth are greatly damaged, the only viable remedy might be tooth extraction. This prevents the pain that arises from a damaged pulp and may be the only option for some broken molar repair.
For most people with tiny cracks in the enamel of teeth, treatment may not be necessary. In cases where such cracks don’t result in pain and don’t affect the appearance of the teeth, dentists advise that such teeth be left alone. Please come and speak to any of our professional team, if cracked teeth, particularly cracked molar or fractured cusp molar is an issue for you.
For more information about Cracked Teeth, please call us at (08) 9349 0800