If you are experiencing tooth pain while chewing or biting, this may be a symptom of a cracked tooth. Cracks can come from injury, cavities or large fillings that weaken the rest of the tooth. A cracked tooth may or may not also be sensitive to hot and cold depending on how deep the crack is. Cracks that progress too far can result in entire sections of the tooth breaking off and in some cases, loss of the tooth entirely.
Why do teeth crack?
Teeth are protected by a hard outer layer called enamel which acts as a protective shield. Environmental factors and diet can weaken the enamel and make the tooth prone to decay and cavities and eventual cracking. Over time, teeth with larger fillings in them can also develop cracks. Did you know that the human jaw can close with a force of up to 270 lbs!?
How can you prevent cracked teeth?
- Brushing and flossing regularly helps prevent cavities that can weaken the enamel.
- Fluoride can also help strengthen tooth enamel that has been weakened by acidic foods and bacteria.
- Routine dental checkups will help identify the teeth that are prone to cracking so they can be fixed early and toothaches can be avoided.
How is a cracked tooth fixed?
A small crack in a tooth is like a chip in a windshield. The longer you leave it in there, the greater the risk that it will get worse. If caught early, a crown can replace the entire top of the tooth to protect it like a helmet. If the crack is deeper you may need more extensive work to reinforce the inside of the tooth.
What if the crack is too deep to fix?
This tooth will need to be removed in order to prevent infection and other complications. Modern dental implant technology allows the tooth to be replaced in a way that mimics natural teeth.