Do you experience pain when you chew? Is it a sudden, sharp pain that goes away after you’re done chewing? You could have a cracked tooth and you need to visit your dentist to find out for sure.
You can crack a tooth or get a crack in an old filling and either way, you’ll experience pain when you chew. You might be doubtful that your tooth is cracked if you didn’t experience some type of trauma or hear a big crunch after chewing something hard. Unfortunately, you can have a cracked tooth without realizing when or how it happened.
Sometimes a tooth cracks during a trauma like being hit in the mouth but other times, you can crack a tooth by grinding or clenching your teeth or putting extra or excessive stress on a tooth (ever try cracking a nut with your teeth? Don’t do it!). Remember, our teeth are not meant to be used as tools for any purpose other than to chew our food. Don’t use your teeth to open packages, chew ice, or anything that causes undue stress on your teeth.
You can also become susceptible to cracking a tooth if you have any large fillings in your mouth. Sometimes teeth become fragile and breakable if a lot of the original tooth structure is removed due to decay and filled with a filling. If you have pain in a tooth with an old filling, there could be a crack in the filling and your dentist should evaluate it for you.
Extremes can also be damaging to your teeth. For example, extreme heat followed by extreme cold is not always advisable. You can ask your dentist for more information about how to best protect your teeth from damage due to cracking.
So how will your dentist tell if you have a cracked tooth? He or she will do an examination that may include taking x-rays of your teeth. It will be helpful to your dentist if you can tell him what area of your mouth, and even which tooth if you can pinpoint it, gives you pain. Your dentist will find it useful to know if your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or both. Sometimes cracks are difficult to see with the naked eye or even on x-ray so your dentist will find any information you can offer very helpful.
If your dentist determines that you do indeed have a cracked tooth, there are a variety of treatments that he or she may recommend depending on your specific condition. From bonding to root canal to extraction, there are a number of treatments used to fix the problem that will depend on the condition of your tooth.
How can you prevent a cracked tooth? First and foremost, remember that your teeth are not tools and should not be used to chew or bite anything extremely hard. Try to avoid clenching your teeth when stressed and if you suspect you grind your teeth during the night, talk to your dentist about how to prevent damage. You should also wear a mouth guard if you play sports.
If you need to locate a dentist in your area you can visit www.SmileMichigan.com to find a local member of the Michigan Dental Association.
Bright Side Dental is a dental group with locations in Sterling Heights, Livonia, Canton, and Royal Oak, Michigan. Visit www.BrightSideDental.com.