Dental pain can arise for a variety of reasons; including decay, gum disease and cracked tooth syndrome. Cracked tooth syndrome is the result of small cracks in the tooth. They are usually too small to be seen in xrays and are only distinguishable by test. Cracked tooth syndrome causes discomfort and sensitivity. Teeth that are weakened or exposed to extreme pressures may experience cracked tooth syndrome. This condition commonly affects the molars.
Bruxism (clenching and/or grinding) contribute significantly to cracked tooth syndrome. Individuals who suffer from bruxism subject their teeth to severe amount of pressure in addition to the pressure associated with biting forces. These tremendous pressures can cause the tooth to crack. Teeth that are weakened as a result of large fillings or root canals are more susceptible to cracks as are individuals that have existing cracked teeth.
To diagnose a cracked tooth, the dentist will begin by taking xrays of the tooth. If the xrays do not reveal anything, a tool that looks like a tooth brush without bristles may be utilized. The tool fits over one part of the tooth as the patient bites down, pain or discomfort indicates a crack. Other tests use a dye to stain the tooth or a bright light to indentify cracks. Fillings or crowns may be removed to better see the tooth and diagnose the cracked tooth.Cracked tooth syndrome causes sensitivity and pain when chewing. The level of discomfort can range from mild to severe and may only be present when eating certain types of foods. The crack may encompass more than one cusp of the tooth.
Cracked teeth that are not repaired can develop an infection. A fistula is a small bump on the gum near the cracked tooth; it develops as a sign of infection. The fracture in the tooth can also grow, leading to a piece of the tooth breaking off.
Cracked teeth can be restored using a crown if the fracture has not reached the pulp. If the pulp is involved a root canal will be needed, followed by the placement of the crown. If the root of the tooth is cracked, the tooth will have to be removed.
If the tooth has cracked as a result of bruxism, the dentist may prescribe the use of a mouth guard. A mouth guard is a molded plastic guard that cushions the effects of clenching and grinding. It is usually worn at night but can also be used during the day.