Most teeth restored with the traditional metallic fillings will eventually develop cracks that can cause the tooth to fracture suddenly. These cracks are the opening needed for tooth decay to get into the softer parts of these teeth. This condition can go unnoticed for years until symptoms develop. A sharp pain to biting pressure or upon sudden release from a clenched position may be a signal that the tooth has cracked. Thermal sensitivity could also be a result of a cracked tooth. Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, and temperature or pressure sensitivity. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort. Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.
Dr. ElAttrache uses the newer more advanced dental materials that help prevent and repair these cracks.
Types of Cracks:
These are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are more common in adults. These types of cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern.
When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.
This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates toward the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root, often causing damage to the pulp. In this case, root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is essential.
A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact. Yet, the position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. Sometimes, endodontic retreatment by your doctor and restoration by your dentist can be used to save a portion of the tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture
A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed. Treatment involves endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root. Otherwise the tooth will have to be extracted.