When it comes to your dental health, it’s true that what you don’t know about a condition can hurt you far more than what you do know. Cracked teeth are an especially good example of this phenomenon. Depending on the type and severity of the crack, the impacted tooth may display clearly distressing, perplexing signs, or even no symptoms at all.
Your local endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating cracked teeth. Here is a short list of “must-know” bits of information about cracked teeth.
Cracked Teeth: What Your Endodontist Wants You To Know
There can be many reasons a tooth becomes cracked. If you think that you can’t be experiencing a cracked tooth because you don’t remember anything that could have cracked it, understand that the reasons teeth become cracked vary. Cracked teeth can result from chewing on nuts, hard candy or ice, a blow to the mouth; chronically grinding one’s teeth, and previously losing an extensive amount of natural tooth structure, to exposure of the tooth to temperature extremes.
Teeth can become cracked in a variety of ways. There are craze lines, which only impact the cosmetic look of your enamel; a fractured cusp, which impacts the biting surface of your tooth; a cracked tooth, which is a fracture of the tooth and may or may not have extended to the root yet; and a vertical root fracture, which starts at the root and extends upward to the biting surface of the tooth.
Early diagnosis of cracked teeth is critical. If you believe you might have a cracked tooth, don’t put off a trip to your endodontist for an evaluation. Unlike other types of human bones, broken teeth do not heal. A small crack will get worse, and once the crack reaches the pulp of the tooth, the survival of the natural tooth itself will be in peril. Prompt diagnosis of the condition will give your endodontist treatment options such as fillings or crowns to protect the vulnerable tooth structure, or root canal treatment if the crack is impacting the pulp of the tooth.
“The whole idea of having a cracked tooth can be upsetting, but endodontists have many tools for resolving fractures to your natural teeth that preserve them and keep them healthy,” says Dr. Susan L. Wood, who practices with the Phoenix Endodontic Group.