What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome and How to Treat It?
Cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) is a condition where a tooth has a crack that is too small to be seen on an X-ray or even by the eye, but causes pain and sensitivity when chewing or biting. The crack may affect only the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, or extend deeper into the dentin, the inner layer, or even the pulp, the nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth.
CTS can affect any tooth, but it is more common in the back teeth (molars and premolars) because they bear more pressure from chewing. CTS can be caused by various factors, such as:
Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth)
Chewing hard foods or objects (such as ice, nuts, or pens)
Trauma or injury to the tooth (such as from a fall or a blow)
Large or old fillings that weaken the tooth structure
Temperature changes that cause the tooth to expand and contract
The symptoms of CTS may vary depending on the severity and location of the crack. Some common signs and symptoms include:
Pain or discomfort when biting or chewing, especially on one side of the mouth
Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks
Difficulty locating which tooth is causing the pain
Pain that comes and goes, or changes in intensity
Swelling of the gum around the affected tooth
If you suspect that you have CTS, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will examine your teeth and may use special tests, such as biting on a cotton roll or a rubber wedge, to identify the cracked tooth. Your dentist may also take an X-ray or use a magnifying glass or a dye to detect the crack.
The treatment for CTS depends on the size and location of the crack, as well as your symptoms. Some possible treatments include:
Bonding: A resin material is applied to fill the crack and restore the tooth's shape and function.
Crown: A cap made of porcelain or metal is placed over the cracked tooth to protect it from further damage.
Root canal: If the crack reaches the pulp, the infected nerve and blood vessels are removed and replaced with a rubber-like material. Then, a crown is placed over the treated tooth.
Extraction: If the crack is too severe or extends below the gum line, the tooth may need to be removed and replaced with an implant, bridge, or denture.
Cracked tooth syndrome can be prevented by avoiding habits that can damage your teeth, such as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing hard foods or objects, or using your teeth as tools. You should also wear a mouthguard when playing sports or during sleep if you have bruxism. Moreover, you should maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Cracked tooth syndrome can have a negative impact on your oral health and quality of life. If left untreated, the crack can worsen and cause more pain, infection, or tooth loss. Therefore, it is important to seek dental care as soon as you notice any signs or symptoms of CTS.
Your dentist will help you choose the best treatment option for your case and advise you on how to care for your cracked tooth after the procedure. You may need to avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste, and rinse your mouth with warm salt water. You may also need to take painkillers or antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist.
Cracked tooth syndrome is a common dental problem that can affect anyone at any age. By being aware of the causes, signs, and symptoms of CTS, you can prevent further damage to your tooth and preserve your smile. If you have any questions or concerns about CTS, do not hesitate to contact your dentist and get the treatment you need. 06063cd7f5