Cracked tooth syndrome is very common in teeth with large fillings and most often is seen in your back teeth. If the crack goes untreated, it can deepen or expand like a crack in a glass window, causing part of the tooth to break off. If this occurs, the tooth might need extraction or a root canal treatment in order to save it.
Some of the symptoms of this occurrence are pain in chewing, unsolicited pain, pain from cold air, no X-ray evidence of the problem and no dental decay present. Often it is difficult for the patient to determine which tooth is causing the pain. However, the absence of pain does not rule out the presence of a crack.
To determine if a tooth has developed a crack invisible to the naked eye, the dentist will take a thorough dental history, including history of trauma to your teeth and history of any bite adjustments performed. The teeth in the problem area will be examined with a dental explorer. The teeth will be tested for heat and cold sensitivity. When severe pain is elicited with temperature and rapidly subsides upon removal of the stimulus, the cause is usually a fracture.
Sometimes, transillumination (light source) with magnification is used to help visualize the suspected crack. The diagnosis can be further confirmed when the dentist uses a plastic or wooden instrument or cotton roll that rests on one part of a tooth while you bite down. Pain in a specific area helps isolate the position of the crack. In certain instances, removal of a restoration (filling) is necessary to visualize the crack and assess its potential to harm the pulp (nerve).
Can cracks be treated so that the tooth can be saved? Yes. But unlike like your bones, cracked teeth don’t heal themselves. Early diagnosis leads to a better chance of success. The best solution is to have a full crown (cap) placed over the tooth to strengthen and hold the tooth together. In about 10 percent of cracked teeth, the nerve dies and root canal (endodontic treatment) will be required, along with the cementation of a post into the nerve canal before the crown is completed and the tooth restored.
For more information, call Dr. Deragopian at 925-513-0100.
– Courtesy of DentalSenders