Signs of a Cracked Tooth, and What to Do About Them

Categories: Miscellaneous

Modern science and medicine help us live longer, and that can be wonderful. There are only a few downsides to a longer life. One is that teeth can get worn down over the course of long lives. We chew on ice. We grind our teeth in frustration at work. We clench our teeth in our sleep. Our teeth can even get cracks in them, and we may or may not notice.

Do you have a cracked tooth? It’s actually not always visible or obvious when you do. But you might be feeling the painful symptoms of a cracked tooth. You can find out below if you have any of the signs of a cracked tooth and how you can get your cracked tooth taken care of.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Sometimes, a cracked tooth will let you know right away through pain. A crack can feel like an exposed root or a cavity. 

It might hurt: 

  • After you release the force after a bite.
  • Off and on while you chew food or drink.
  • When you eat or drink very hot or cold foods or drinks.

Or maybe only certain foods hurt a tooth, such as chewing gum or very hard foods. If you’re not sure what is causing your occasional tooth pain, you should ask your dentist or endodontist about it. 

With certain kinds of cracks, you might not feel any pain but instead be able to see visible signs of a crack. You might watch for: 

  • A new transparent area in the tooth enamel.
  • A line of darker enamel on the tooth.
  • A spot where tooth enamel has chipped off.
  • An area of a tooth that has become discolored.

Of course, you might see an obvious crack. Whether you feel tooth pain, see a crack, or suspect a crack, schedule a dental appointment right away to prevent the crack from widening or becoming infected.

What Causes Pain in a Cracked Tooth?

The surface layers of your teeth don’t feel pain. The top layer, which you actually see is called enamel. Under that is a hard layer of tooth structure called the dentin. Inside the root of the tooth is an area of soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves called the pulp—and that is where you can sense pain. 

If a tooth is cracked, sections of dentin can move around while you chew, which can grind against the inner pulp and nerves. The crack can open up a little during a bite, then snap closed again afterward, causing sudden pain to the pulp.

Chewing can cause small amounts of damage to the pulp, which it will try to heal. But after a time, it might not be able to heal enough and the tooth will stay damaged. The pulp will become more sensitive, possibly hurting from temperature changes or just remaining in constant pain. 

How Your Endodontist Will Treat a Cracked Tooth

A major danger posed by a cracked tooth is that it could become infected. In other words, bacteria could get inside the pulp and start to multiply. That infection could even travel to nearby gums or even bone. 

Endodontists specialize in dealing with the inner pulp of the tooth and are trained to clean it out when necessary. If you have pain caused by infection or inflammation in your pulp, your endodontist has the experience to relieve that pain and take care of the source. A standard root canal treatment will take out the infected pulp and replace it with biocompatible material.

Cracked Tooth Treatment at Creekside Endodontics

Your tooth may also need a restoration in order to strengthen it. You’re going to need that tooth for many years. At Creekside Endodontics, we’ll ensure that if you’re able to keep your natural tooth, we’ll save it!

Whether you need a crown or a filling, we’ll recommend the option that will look great and let you chew normally again. Reach out to us if you have any signs or symptoms of a cracked tooth.