CRACKED TOOTH SYNDROME (CTS)
Cracked Tooth Syndrome is a very common problem these days. Unfortunately, unlike teeth with obvious fractures, teeth with cracked tooth syndrome usually have fractures that are not visible and are difficult to see on X-rays or with the naked eye.
Sometimes the fracture occurs below the gum line, making it even more difficult to diagnose. Cracked tooth syndrome frequently occurs in molars, usually in lower molars, affecting the chewing forces of teeth.
People who grind or clench their teeth are more vulnerable or susceptible to cracked tooth syndrome because of the constant strain on the teeth. Moreover, teeth with large fillings or teeth that have undergone root canal treatment are weaker than other teeth and are more likely to crack.
MAJOR SYMPTOMS OF CRACKED TOOTH SYNDROME
- Persistent or intermittent pain in the tooth when you chew or bite.
- Sensitivity to temperature extremes or while eating sweets.
- Swelling around the tooth.
- Toothache when biting or chewing.
In cracked tooth syndrome, the tooth might feel pain only when you eat certain foods or bite in a specific way. The cracked tooth syndrome can get worse when you eat sugary foods as the sugar leaks into the tooth crack, causing pain. Some people do not feel a constant ache, as they would feel in a cavity or abscess, but the affected tooth becomes more sensitive to cold temperatures.
Many people with cracked tooth syndrome do not show any significant symptoms for months; that’s why it is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are not consistent.
COMMON CAUSES OF CRACKED TOOTH SYNDROME
Cracked tooth syndrome can adversely affect the functionality of teeth and should get appropriate treatment in the early stages so that severe consequences can be prevented.
Various factors become a reason for cracked tooth syndrome, including:
- Clenching or grindings (bruxism)
- Chewing on hard food items
- Teeth with large dental fillings
DIAGNOSIS OF CRACKED TOOTH SYNDROME
In the diagnosis of cracked tooth syndrome, the dentist will start with a thorough examination of your mouth and teeth. He may take X-rays of cracked teeth, although X-rays often do not show the cracks. Dentists also use special instruments to test the tooth for fractures.
These instruments look like a toothbrush without bristles that fit over a specific part of the tooth when you bite down. If you feel any pain, the cusp being tested is cracked. Treatment generally depends on where the crack is and how deep and large it is.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRACKED TOOTH
The cracked teeth are categorised and treated depending on the extent and type of tooth fractures. Tooth fractures are classified into three major types:
1. FRACTURED CUSPS
When the piece of the tooth’s chewing surface breaks off, this type of fracture is called a fractured cusp. The fractured cusp is generally treated with the placement of dental fillings. In this type of tooth crack, the fracture exceeds the gum line but does not harm the pulp, the innermost layer of the teeth. People usually do not feel any pain in this fracture, but the tooth becomes more sensitive to temperature extremes.
2. CRACKED TEETH
In this type of fracture, a crack vertically exceeds the biting surface into the gum line and tooth root. In cracked teeth fractures, the pulp of the teeth is commonly damaged, and root canal therapy becomes necessary. Sometimes, if the crack becomes severe, it can no longer be treated, and dentists extract such teeth to prevent the functionality of surrounding teeth.
3. SPLIT TEETH
In split teeth, a crack extends from the tooth surface directly into the root, which usually splits the teeth in half. The split teeth severely damage the tooth surface and cannot be treated by dental restoration methods. A split tooth needs to be extracted immediately to stop the spread of cracks in the adjacent teeth.
TREATMENT OF CRACKED TOOTH
Sometimes a crack affects more than one cusp of teeth. In that case, the tooth may be fixed or repaired with a dental crown. Some cracks may deeply affect the pulp: the centre of the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels lie. In that case, the tooth will require a root canal treatment. After a root canal, the tooth will no longer be sensitive to temperature but will still respond to pressure.
Moreover, in some cases, when the cracks exceed the gum line, the tooth may need to be extracted in order to protect the functionality of surrounding teeth. Because if cracks affect the tooth’s root in the jaw, there’s no way to fix this type of crack. You can replace your tooth with an implant or a dental bridge if your tooth is removed.
People with one cracked tooth are more likely to have cracks in the adjacent teeth as well, either at the same time or in the future. They should wear an occlusal splint or night guard to prevent them from grinding or clenching their teeth at night. It also can be worn during the day if a person has severe clenching or grinding habits.
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
If you are suffering from cracked tooth syndrome, feel free to reach out and book an appointment at Ingersoll dental care online or by phone at (519) 485-4951. We can always talk with you and answer any of your questions about cracked tooth syndrome or other dental problems.