Dentists will typically encounter cracked teeth on an almost daily basis. Sometimes patients will know they have a cracked tooth and sometimes we will find a tooth that has a crack serious enough to warrant treatment during a routine dental checkup.
The first photo is a picture of a tooth that had recently become sore to chew on. The tooth had been filled many years ago.
I checked the tooth. The patient felt pain (a twinge/pain) when she bit down on a plastic stick and opened quickly, the same test I likely did for you. The second photo is a picture of the tooth after the filling was removed. In photo note the crack that is visible in the tooth. Cracks usually occur in teeth that have fillings or cavities but cracks can also develop in teeth that have never been filled.
Cavities and fillings unfortunately weaken teeth. When we chew, we put 100 pounds or more of pressure on our back teeth. A tooth weakened by filling plus 100 pounds of biting pressure can result in a crack in the tooth.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth:
You may have one or more of the following symptoms:
sharp pain in the tooth when chewing hard or even sometimes soft food
sharp pain to cold drinks and/or cold food
toothache (if the crack extends into or near the nerve of the tooth)
Teeth that have had root canal treatment are especially prone to cracking or breakage as they always have a filling that runs deep down the middle of the tooth weakening it. When a tooth like this cracks it sometimes splits right down the middle. If that happens the tooth will need to be removed (see above picture on far right side). When a tooth is diagnosed with a crack it is best to take action before it breaks. Treatment for a cracked tooth may ivolve placing a crown, a large filling or in some cases, unfortunately removal of the tooth may be the only option.
For a more thorough discussion on cracked teeth you can read another article I wrote by clicking here.