Overview of Tooth Fracture
Dental enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and as a result teeth are quite strong. However teeth can chip, crack, fracture or break. Chipped, cracked or fractured teeth may be totally painless, or depending on the extent of the fracture, may be quite painful, especially when chewing or when exposed to something very hot or cold. Cracked teeth can be very obvious, in cases of broken & missing pieces of tooth, or they can be very minute requiring special techniques to identify and diagnose the damage.
Typically if the fracture in a tooth is above the root, then it is likely treatable, usually with a protective restoration like a crown.
However if the fracture in a tooth extends into the root, then the tooth is non-treatable and would require extraction and replacement.
Using state of the art technologies such as digital x-rays and fiber optic illumination, Dr. Prasher can help diagnose and treat fractured teeth. In cases where the tooth cannot be saved, Dr. Prasher has the expertise to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant if needed. If you have a cracked tooth or are experiencing pain to chew or noticed sensitivity to hot/cold drinks and food, please call us at Angel Ranch Dental in Yorba Linda for an examination with Dr. Prasher
What Causes Cracked Teeth?
Some common causes of cracked teeth include but are not limited to:
Grinding or clenching teeth
The way a person's teeth come together when they bite/chew/clench can put too much pressure on one tooth, causing the tooth to crack.
Teeth with large fillings, especially teeth with older amalgams are markedly more prone to fracture than teeth without fillings.
Teeth that have large porcelain inlays and onlays tend to have fractured cusps over time.
Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment become brittle over time and are more prone to fracture than teeth without root canal treatment.
Aged teeth wear over time and are susceptible to fractures.
Accidental or forceful trauma may also lead to fractured teeth.
Chewing on ice or hard candy or any hard object can cause a crack to develop in teeth
What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?
Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when a tooth has a crack that’s too small to appear on x-rays, or is under the gum and challenging to identify. Typically, teeth involved in cracked tooth syndrome have hairline fractures that are often invisible to the human eye. It appears most often on molars. Most people experience cracked tooth syndrome as pain or discomfort when biting into food, or when teeth are exposed to hot or cold temperatures. Depending on how deep into the tooth the fracture extends, a fracture can cause nerve damage resulting in pain & discomfort. The pain or discomfort usually is not constant, and only occurs when there is some stimulus to the tooth. People with a history of a cracked tooth are more likely to have other teeth crack, either at the same time or in the future.
A complete oral examination, dental history, radiographs and the use of a fiber optic hand piece for illumination, which are used by Dr. Prasher at Angel Ranch Dental in Yorba Linda, can assist in the detection of microscopic cracks.
Treatment for Cracked / Broken Teeth
Based on the extent of the fracture in a patient's tooth, Dr. Prasher at Angel Ranch Dental in Yorba Linda, can offer several different treatment options to repair/restore a cracked tooth. Such options may include placing a crown on the cracked tooth and/or performing root canal therapy as needed.
Since people who grind or clench their teeth are at much higher risk of tooth fracture, preventive measures such as a custom made nightguard or custom made occlusal guard are highly recommended by Dr. Prasher to reduce the risk of tooth fracture.
The type of treatment Dr. Prasher recommends will depend on the location and severity of the tooth fracture, so it's best to schedule an appointment as soon as you suspect that you may have a crack in your tooth.
Give us a call today to schedule your consultation at Angel Ranch Dental in Yorba Linda for treatment for a cracked or broken tooth.