There is a broad spectrum of problems related to cracks in teeth or having a broken tooth.
Teeth are basically brittle, and cracks once begun cannot heal. They have a tendency to spread over time, and are a cause of tooth loss.
Symptoms can vary from the obvious – a large chunk breaking off, and associated pain and sharp edges – to erratic pain that comes and goes when exposed to hot, cold, chewing.
Pain is due to movement of cracked parts, or leakage of fluid and potentially bacteria through the cracks. The nerve can become infected, and result in a need for root canal treatment.
More on cracked teeth:
Cracks can occur from:
- Normal wear & tear
- In teeth weakened by previous decay and fillings
- Excessive clenching or grinding
- Uneven or imbalanced bites that stress some areas excessively
- Biting hard objects – by accident (eg olive stones), or deliberately (eg chewing ice cubes)
The treatment depends on the extent of the problem. Small cracks may just need a bonded restoration, while more severe ones may need ceramic coverage of the tooth, to hold it together. Protective night guards (splints) are often needed as a preventive measure to reduce the spread of cracks and protect other teeth.
If treated early, teeth can be successfully restored. If left, it can result in tooth loss. Cracked and broken teeth are very serious, and early attention is wise.
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