A cracked tooth is a fairly common type of dental issue that can occur for a number of reasons. Grinding teeth can put them under a great deal of pressure, particularly if this is happening on a regular basis or with great force. Large fillings may also weaken a tooth and cause it to crack, and gum disease can play a part in tooth cracks where there has been bone lose that contributes to root fractures. There are also external causes of tooth cracking, for example biting down on something hard, such as a boiled sweet, or receiving a blow to the outside of the lower jaw or chin. Finally, sudden changes in the temperature of the mouth can also be responsible for cracked teeth.
It’s often difficult to spot the signs of cracked teeth unless the cause is something very dramatic. Pain when chewing can be a sign of a crack in the tooth, particularly at the point where the bite is released. Hot and cold liquids and foods can be uncomfortable when teeth are cracked and there may also be an increased sensitivity to sweetness, although no evidence of decay. There may also be swelling, although this tends to be quite limited.
If you think you do have a cracked or broken tooth then it’s a good idea to try and get to a dentist as soon as you can before the damage gets worse. In the meantime, avoid very hot or very cold foods that might split an existing crack and increase the pain you’re suffering. If you have managed to locate and keep the part of the tooth that has broken off then take this with you to the dentist – this won’t be used to repair the tooth but will be useful for the dentist to see what exactly has come away from the tooth.
Where your tooth is cracked but in tact you need to eat and drink carefully so as to try to avoid further cracking. Avoid hard foods or anything that might make you bite down on the cracked tooth, as this will make it worse. The root may well be involved with the crack so you want to do everything possible to try and avoid a root fracture. Try to use your mouth and teeth as little as possible and, in the meantime, make an appointment with a dentist to get the issue seen to as soon as you possibly can.